Manual of Gardening (Second Edition)
L. H. Bailey
Part 6 out of 10
Of the tender vines, the nasturtiums and ipomeas and morning-glories are
the most common in the North, while the adlumia, balloon vine, passion
vine, gourds, and others, are frequently used. One of the best of recent
introduction is the annual hop, especially the variegated variety. This
is a very rapid-growing vine, seeding itself each year, and needing
little care. The climbing geraniums (_Pelargonium peltatum_ and its
derivatives) are much used in California. All the tender vines should be
planted after danger of frost is past.
So many good vines are now on the market that one may grow a wide
variety for many uses. The home gardener should keep his eyes open for
the wild vines of his neighborhood and add the best of them to his
collection. Most of these natives are worthy of cultivation. Even the
poison ivy makes a very satisfactory cover for rough and inaccessible
places in the wild, and its autumn color is very attractive; but of
course its cultivation cannot be recommended.
Vines that cling closely to walls of buildings are Virginia creeper (one
form does not cling well), Boston or Japanese ivy _(Ampelopsis
tricuspidata;_ also _A. Lowii,_ with smaller foliage), English ivy,
euonymus _(E. radicans_ and the var. _variegata_), and _Ficus repens_
far south; others that cling less closely are trumpet creeper, and
climbing hydrangea _(Schizophragma hydrangeoides)._
Vines for trailing, or covering the ground, are periwinkle _(Vinca),_
herniaria, moneywort _(Lysimachia nummularia_), ground-ivy _(Nepeta
Glechoma), Rosa Wichuraiana,_ species of native greenbrier or smilax
(not the so-called smilax of florists), _Rubus laciniatus,_ dewberries,
and also others that usually are not classed as vines. In the South,
Japanese honeysuckle and Cherokee rose perform this function
extensively. In California, species of mesembryanthemum (herbaceous) are
extensively used as ground covers on banks. Page 86.
For quickly covering brush and rough places, the many kinds of gourds
may be used; also pumpkins and squashes, watermelons, _Cucumis
foetidissima,_ wild cucumbers _(Echinocystis lobata_ and _Sicyos
angulata_), nasturtiums, and other vigorous annuals. Many of the woody
perennials may be used for such purposes, but usually these places are
For arbors, strong woody vines are desired. Grapes are excellent; in the
South the muscadine and scuppernong grapes are adaptable to this purpose
(Plate XV). Actinidia and wistaria are also used. Akebia, dutchman's
pipe, trumpet creeper, clematis, honeysuckles, may be suggested. Roses
are much used in warm climates.
For covering porches, the standard vine in the North is Virginia
creeper. Grapes are admirable, particularly some of the wild ones. Japan
honeysuckle is much used; and it has the advantage of holding its
foliage well into the winter, or even all winter southward. Actinidia,
akebia, wistaria, roses, dutch-man's pipe, and clematis are to be
recommended; the large-flowered clematises, however, are more valuable
for their bloom than for their foliage (_C. paniculata,_ and the native
species are better for covering porches).
The annual vines are mostly used as flower-garden subjects, as the sweet
pea, morning-glories, mina, moonflowers, cypress vine, nasturtiums,
cobea, scarlet runner. Several species of convolvulus, closely allied to
the common morning-glory, have now enriched our lists. For baskets and
vases the maurandia and the different kinds of thunbergias are
The moonflowers are very popular in the South, where the seasons are
long enough to allow them to develop to perfection. In the North they
must be started early (it is a good plan to soak or notch the seeds) and
be given a warm exposure and good soil (see in Chap. VIII).
In the following lists, the plants native to the United States or Canada
are marked by an asterisk ((A)).
_Annual herbaceous climbers._ (Grown each year from seed.)
Balloon Vine _(Cardiospermum)_.(A)
Canary-bird Flower _(Tropaeolum peregrinum_).
Sweet pea (Fig. 265).
Gourds or gourd-like plants, as, _Coccinia Indica;_ Cucumis of several
interesting species, as _C. erinaceus, grossularioeformis,
odoratissimus;_ dipper or bottle gourd _(Lagenaria)_;
vegetable sponge, dish-cloth gourd, rag gourd _(Luffa);_ balsam apple,
balsam pear _(Momordica)_; snake gourd _(Trichosanthes)_; bryonopsis;
All the above except sweet pea are quickly cut down by frost.
Dolichos Lablab, and others.
Ipomcea Quamoclit (cypress vine) and others.
Moonflower, several species.
Butterfly pea, _Centrosema Virginiana._(A)
Scarlet runner, _Phaseolus multiflorus_ (perennial South).
Velvet or banana bean, _Mucuna pruriens_ var. _utilis_ (for the South).
[Illustration: Fig. 265. Sweet pea.]
_Perennial herbaceous climbers._
(The tops dying down in fall, but the root living over winter and
sending up a new top.)
_a. Tendril-climbers or root-climbers_
Everlasting pea, _Lathyrus latifolius._ Clematis of various species, as
_C. aromatica, Davidiana, heracleaefolia (C. tubulosa_), are more or
less climbing. Most of the clematises are shrubs.
May-pop, _Passiflora incarnata._(A) Not reliable north of Virginia.
Wild Gourd, _Cucurbita foetidissima (Cucumis perennius_).(A) Excellent
strong rugged vine for covering piles on the ground.
[Illustration: Fig. 266. Clematis Henryi. One-third natural size.]
Mexican rose, mountain rose, _Antigonon leptopus._
Root tuberous; a rampant grower, with pink bloom; outdoors South, and a
conservatory plant North.
Kenilworth ivy, _Linaria Cymbalaria._
A very graceful little perennial vine, re-sowing itself even where not
hardy; favorite for baskets.
_b. Herbaceous twiners_
Hop, _Humulus Lupulus._(A)
Produces the hops of commerce, but should be in common use as an
Chinese yam, cinnamon vine, _Dioscorea divaricata (D. Batatas_).
Climbs high, but does not produce as much foliage as some other vines.
Wild yam, _D. villosa._(A)
Smaller than the preceding; otherwise fully as good.
Ground-nut, _Apios tuberosa._(A)
A bean-like vine, producing many chocolate-brown flowers in August and
Scarlet runner and White Dutch runner beans, _Phaseolus multiflorus._
Perennial in warm countries; annual in the North.
Moonflowers, _Ipomcea,_ various species.
Some are perennials far South, but annual North.
Hardy moonflower, _Ipomoea pandurata._(A)
A weed where it grows wild, but an excellent vine for some purposes.
Wild morning-glory, Rutland beauty, _Convolvulus Sepium_(A) and
California rose, _C. Japonicus._
The former, white and pink, is common in swales. The latter, in double
or semi-double form, is often run wild.
Madeira vine, mignonette vine, _Boussingaultia baselloides._
Root a large, tough, irregular tuber.
Mikania, climbing hempweed, _Mikania scandens._(A)
A good compositous twiner, inhabiting moist lands.
_Woody perennial climbers._
(Climbing shrubs, the tops not dying down in fall except in climates in
which they are not hardy.)
_a. Tendril-climbers, root-climbers, scramblers, and trailers_
Virginia creeper, _Ampelopsis quinquefolia,_(A)
The best vine for covering buildings in the colder climates. Plants
should be selected from vines of known habit, as some individuals cling
much better than others. Var. _hirsuta,_(A) strongly clinging, is
recommended by the experimental station at Ottawa, Canada. Var.
_Engelmanni_(A) has small and neat foliage.
Japanese ivy, Boston ivy, _A. tricuspidata (A. Veitchii_).
Handsomer than the Virginia creeper, and clings closer, but is often
injured by winter in exposed places, especially when young; in northern
regions, tops should be protected for first year or two.
Variegated ivy, _Ampelopsis heterophylla_ var. _elegans_ (_Cissus
Handsome delicate hardy grape-like vines with mostly three-lobed
blotched leaves and bluish berries.
Garden clematis, _Clematis_ of various species and varieties.
Plants of robust and attractive habit, and gorgeous blooms; many garden
forms. _C. Jackmani,_ and its varieties, is one of the best. _C. Henryi_
(Fig. 266) is excellent for white flowers. Clematises bloom in July
Wild clematis, _C. Virginiana_(A)
Very attractive for arbors and for covering rude objects. The pistillate
plants bear curious woolly balls of fruit.
Wild clematis, _C. verticillaris._(A)
Less vigorous grower than the last, but excellent.
Japanese clematis, _C. paniculata._
The best late-blooming woody vine, producing enormous masses of white
flowers in late summer and early fall.
Trumpet creeper, _Tecoma radicans._(A)
One of the best of all free-flowering shrubs; climbs by means of roots;
flowers very large, orange-scarlet.
Chinese trumpet creeper, _T. grandiflora (Bignonia grandiflora_).
Flowers orange-red; sometimes scarcely climbing.
Bignonia, _Bignonia capreolata._(A)
A good strong evergreen vine, but often a nuisance in fields in the
Frost grape, _Vitis cordifolia._(A)
One of the finest of all vines. It is a very tall grower, producing
thick, heavy, dark leaves. Its foliage often reminds one of that of the
moon-seed. Does not grow readily from cuttings.
Summer and river-bank grapes, _V. bicolor_(A) and _V. vulpina
The common wild grapes of the Northern states.
Muscadine, scuppernong, _Vitis rotundifolia._(A)
Much used for arbors in the Southern states (Plate XV).
Ivy, _Hedera Helix._
The European ivy does not endure the bright sun of our winter; on the
north side of a building it often does well; the best of vines for
covering buildings, where it succeeds; hardy in favorable localities as
far north as southern Ontario; many forms.
Greenbrier, _Smilax rotundifolia_(A) and _S. hispida._(A)
Unique for the covering of small arbors and summer-houses.
Euonymus, _E. radicans._
A very close-clinging root-climber, excellent for low walls; evergreen;
the variegated variety is good.
Climbing fig, _Ficus repens._
Used in greenhouses North, but is hardy far South.
Matrimony vine, boxthorn, _Lycium Chinense._
Flowering all summer; flowers rose-pink and buff, axillary, star-like,
succeeded by scarlet berries in the fall; stems prostrate, or
scrambling; an old-fashioned vine on porches.
Bitter-sweet, _Solanum Dulcamara._
A common scrambling or semi-twining vine along roadsides, with brilliant
red poisonous berries; top dies down or nearly so.
Periwinkles, _Vinca minor_ and _V. major._
The former is the familiar trailing evergreen myrtle, with blue flowers
in early spring; in its variegated form the latter is much used for
hanging baskets and vases.
Climbing hydrangea, _Schizophragma hydrangeoides._
Clings to walls by rootlets, producing white flowers in midsummer.
Passion-flower, species of _Passiflora_ and _Tacsonia._
Used in the South and in California.
_b. Woody twiners_
Actinidia, _A. arguta._
Very strong grower, with beautiful thick foliage that is not attacked by
insects or fungi; one of the best vines for arbors.
Akebia, _A. quinata._ Very handsome and odd Japanese vine; a strong
grower, and worthy general planting.
Honeysuckles, woodbine, _Lonicera_ of many kinds.
Japanese honeysuckle, _L. Halliana_ (a form of _L. Japonica_).
10-20 ft.; flowers, white and buff, fragrant mainly in spring and fall;
leaves small, evergreen; stems prostrate and rooting, or twining and
climbing. Trellises, or for covering rocks and bare places; extensively
run wild in the South. Var. _aurea reticidata_ is similar to the type,
but with handsome golden appearance.
Belgian Honeysuckle, L. _Periclymenum_ var. _Belgica._
6-10 ft.; monthly; flowers in clusters, rosy red, buff within; makes a
large, rounded bush.
Coral or trumpet honeysuckle, _L. sempervirens._(A)
6-15 ft.; June; scattering scarlet flowers through the summer; with no
support makes a large rounded bush; for trellises, fences, or a hedge;
it is one of the list of hardy trees and shrubs recommended for Canada
by the Experiment Station at Ottawa.
Honeysuckle, _L. Caprifolium,_ with cup-like connate leaves.
Good native climbing honeysuckles are _L. flava,_(A) _Sullivanti,_(A)
_hirsuta,_(A) _dioica,_(A) and _Douglasi._(A)
Wistaria, _Wistaria Sinensis_ and _W. speciosa._(A)
The Chinese species, _Sinensis,_ is a superb plant; flowers blue-purple;
there is a white-flowered variety.
Japanese wistaria, _W. multijuga._
Flowers smaller and later than the Chinese, in looser racemes.
Dutchman's pipe, _Aristolochia macrophytta (A. Sipho_).(A) A robust
grower, possessing enormous leaves. Useful for covering verandas
Wax-work or false bitter-sweet, _Celastrus scandens._(A) Very ornamental
in fruit; flowers imperfect.
Japanese celastrus, _C. orbiculatus (C. articulatus_ of the trade). _C.
articulatus_ and _C. scandens_ are in the list of 100 trees and shrubs
recommended by the Experiment Station at Ottawa for Canada.
Moonseed, _Menispermum Canadense._(A) A small but very attractive
twiner, useful for thickets and small arbors.
Bokhara climbing polygonum, _Polygonum Baldschuanicum._ Hardy North,
although the young growth may be killed; flowers numerous, minute,
whitish; interesting, but does not make a heavy cover.
Kudzu vine, _Pueraria Thunbergiana (Dolichos Japonicus_). Makes very
long growths from a tuberous root; shrubby South, but dies to the ground
in the North.
Silk vine, _Periploca Graeca._ Purplish flowers in axillary clusters;
long, narrow, shining leaves; rapid growing.
Potato vine, _Solanum jasminoides._ A good evergreen vine South,
particularly the var. _grandiflorum._
Yellow jasmine, _Gelsemium sempervirens._(A) A good native evergreen
vine for the South, with fragrant yellow flowers.
Malayan jasmine, _Trachelospermum_ (or _Rhynchospermum) jasminoides._ A
good evergreen vine for the South and in California.
Climbing asparagus, _Asparagus plumosus._ Popular as an outdoor vine far
South and in California.
Jasmines, _Jasminum_ of several species. The best known in gardens are
_J. nudiflorum,_ yellow in earliest spring, _J. officinale,_ the
jessamine of poetry, with white flowers, and _J. Sambac,_ the Arabian
jasmine (and related species) with white flowers and unbranched leaves;
these are not hardy without much protection north of Washington or
Philadelphia, and _J. Sambac_ only far South.
Bougainvillea, _Bougainvillaea glabra_ and _B. spectabilis._
The magenta-flowered variety, sometimes seen in conservatories in the
North, is a popular outdoor vine in the South and is profusely used in
southern California. The red-flowered form is less seen, but is
preferable in color.
Wire-vine (polygonum of florists), _Muehlenbeckia complexa._
Abundantly used on buildings and chimneys in southern California.
The roses do not climb nor possess any special climbing organs;
therefore they must be provided with a trellis or woven-wire fence. Some
of the roses classed as climbing are such as only need good support,
Fig. 267. For culture of roses, see Chapter VIII.
[Illustration: 267. Climbing rose, Jules Margottin.]
The most popular climbing or pillar rose at present is Crimson Rambler,
but while it makes a great display of flowers, it is not the best
climbing rose. Probably the best of the real climbing roses for this
country, bloom, foliage, and habit all considered, are the derivatives
of the native prairie rose, _Rosa setigera_ (native as far north as
Ontario and Wisconsin). Baltimore Belle and Queen of the Prairie belong
to this class.
[Illustration XV: Scuppernong grape, the arbor vine of the South. This
plate shows the noted scuppernongs on Roanoke Island, of which the
origin is unknown, but which were of great size more than one hundred
The climbing polyantha roses (hybrids of _Rosa multiflora_ and other
species) include the class of "rambler" roses that has now come to be
large, including not only the Crimson Rambler, but forms of other
colors, single and semi-double, and various climbing habits; a very
valuable and hardy class of roses, particularly for trellises.
The Memorial rose _(R. Wichuraiana_) is a trailing, half-evergreen,
white-flowered species, very useful for covering banks and rocks.
Derivatives of this species of many kinds are now available, and
The Ayrshire roses _(R. arvensis_ var. _capreolata_) are profuse but
rather slender growers, hardy North, bearing double white or
The Cherokee rose _(R. Icevigata_ or _R. Sinica_) is extensively
naturalized in the South, and much prized for its large white bloom and
shining foliage; not hardy in the North.
The Banksia rose _(R. Banksice_) is a strong climbing rose for the South
and California with yellow or white flowers in clusters. A
larger-flowered form _(R. Fortuneana_) is a hybrid of this and the
The climbing tea and noisette roses, forms of _R. Chinensis_ and _R.
Noisettiana,_ are useful in the open in the South.
7. TREES FOR LAWNS AND STREETS
A single tree may give character to an entire home property; and a place
of any size that does not have at least one good tree usually lacks any
dominating landscape note.
Likewise, a street that is devoid of good trees cannot be the best
residential section; and a park that lacks well-grown trees is either
immature or barren.
Although the list of good and hardy lawn and street trees is rather
extensive, the number of kinds generally planted and recognized is
small. Since most home places can have but few trees, and since they
require so many years to mature, it is natural that the home-maker
should hesitate about experimenting, or trying kinds that he does not
himself know. So the home-maker in the North plants maples, elms, and a
white birch, and in the South a magnolia and China-berry. Yet there are
numbers of trees as useful as these, the planting of which might give
our premises and streets a much richer expression.
It is much to be desired that some of the trees with "strong" and rugged
characters be introduced into the larger grounds; such, for example, as
the hickories and oaks. These may often transplant with difficulty, but
the effort to secure them is worth the expenditure. Good trees of oaks,
and others supposed to be difficult to transplant, may now be had of the
leading nurserymen. The pin oak _(Quercus palustris_) is one of the best
street trees and is now largely planted.
It is at least possible to introduce a variety of trees into a city or
village, by devoting one street or a series of blocks to a single kind
of tree,--one street being known by its lindens, one by its plane-trees,
one by its oaks, one by its hickories, one by its native birches, beech,
coffee-tree, sassafras, gum or liquidambar, tulip tree, and the like.
There is every reason why a city, particularly a small city or a
village, should become to some extent an artistic expression of its
The home-maker is fortunate if his area already possesses well-grown
large trees. It may even be desirable to place the residence with
reference to such trees (Plate VI); and the planning of the grounds
should accept them as fixed points to which to work. The operator will
take every care to preserve and safeguard sufficient of the standing
trees to give the place singularity and character.
The care of the tree should include not only the protecting of it from
enemies and accidents, but also the maintaining of its characteristic
features. For example, the natural rough bark should be maintained
against the raids of tree-scrapers; and the grading should not be
allowed to disguise the natural bulge of the tree at the base, for a
tree that is covered a foot or two above the natural line is not only in
danger of being killed, but it looks like a post.
The best shade trees are usually those that are native to the particular
region, since they are hardy and adapted to the soil and other
conditions. Elms, maples, basswoods, and the like are nearly always
reliable. In regions in which there are serious insect enemies or
fungous diseases, the trees that are most likely to be attacked may be
omitted. For instance, in parts of the East the chestnut bark-disease is
a very great menace; and it is a good plan in such places to plant other
trees than chestnuts.
A good shade tree is one that has a heavy foliage and dense head, and
that is not commonly attacked by repelling insects and diseases. Trees
for shade should ordinarily be given sufficient room that they may
develop into full size and symmetrical heads. Trees may be planted as
close as 10 or 15 feet apart for temporary effect; but as soon as they
begin to crowd they should be thinned, so that they develop their full
characteristics as trees.
Trees may be planted in fall or spring. Fall is desirable, except for
the extreme North, if the land is well drained and prepared and if the
trees may be got in early; but under usual conditions, spring planting
is safer, if the stock has been wintered well (see discussion under
Shrubs, p. 290). Planting and pruning are discussed on pp. 124 and 139.
If one desires trees with conspicuous bloom, they should be found among
the magnolias, tulip trees, koelreuteria, catalpas, chestnuts,
horse-chestnut and buckeyes, cladrastis, black or yellow locust, wild
black cherry, and less conspicuously in the lindens; and also in such
half-trees or big shrubs as cercis, cytisus, flowering dogwood,
double-flowered and other forms of apples, crab-apples, cherries, plums,
peaches, hawthorn or crataegus, amelanchier, mountain ash.
Among drooping or weeping trees the best may be found in the willows
_(Salix Babylonica_ and others), maples (Wier's), birch, mulberry,
beech, ash, elm, cherry, poplar, mountain ash.
Purple-leaved varieties occur in the beech, maple, elm, oak, birch, and
Yellow-leaved and tricolors occur in the maple, oak, poplar, elm, beech,
and other species.
Cut-leaved forms are found in birch, beech, maple, alder, oak, basswood,
_List of hardy deciduous trees for the North._
(The genera are arranged alphabetically. Natives are marked by (A); good
species for shade trees by (D); those recommended by the Experiment
Station at Ottawa, Ontario, by DD)
In a number of the genera, the plants may be shrubby rather than
arboreus in some regions (see the Shrub list), as in acer _(A. Ginnala,
A. spicatum_), aesculus, betula _(B. pumila_), carpinus, castanea (_C.
pumila_), catalpa _(C. ovata_), cercis, magnolia (_M. glauca_
particularly), ostrya, prunus, pyrus, salix, sorbus.
Norway maple, _Acer platanoides._(D, DD) One of the finest medium-sized
trees for single lawn specimens; there are several horticultural
varieties. Var. _Schwedleri_(DD) is one of the best of purple-leaved
trees. The Norway maple droops too much and is too low-headed for
Black sugar maple, _A. nigrum._(A, DD) Darker and softer in aspect than
the ordinary sugar maple.
Sugar maple, _A. saccharum._(A, DD) This and the last are among the very
best roadside trees.
Silver maple, _A. saccharinum (A. dasycarpum_).(A, DD) Desirable for
water-courses and for grouping; succeeds on both wet and dry lands.
Wier's cut-leaved silver maple, _A. saccharinum_ var. _Wieri._(D, DD)
Light and graceful; especially desirable for pleasure grounds.
Red, soft, or swamp maple, _A. rubrum._(A) Valuable for its spring and
autumn colors, and for variety in grouping.
Sycamore maple, _A. Pseudo-platanus._ A slow grower, to be used mostly
as single specimens. Several horticultural varieties.
English maple, _A. campestre._ A good medium-sized tree of slow growth,
not hardy on our northern borders; see under Shrubs (p. 291).
Japan maple, _A. palmatum (A. polymorphum)_. In many forms, useful for
small lawn specimens; does not grow above 10-20 ft.
Siberian maple, _A. Ginnala._(DD) Attractive as a lawn specimen when
grown as a bush; the autumn color is very bright; small tree or
Mountain maple, _A. spicatum._(A) Very bright in autumn.
Box-elder, _Acer Negundo (Negundo aceroides_ or _fraxinifolium_).(A)(D)
Very hardy and rapid growing; much used in the West as a windbreak, but
not strong in ornamental features.
Horse chestnut, _AEsculus Hippocastanum._(D)(DD) Useful for single
specimens and roadsides; many forms.
Buckeye, _AE. octandra (AE. flava)_(A)(DD)
Ohio buckeye, _AE. glabra_(A)
Red buckeye, _AE. cornea (AE. rubicunda)_.
Ailanthus, _Ailanthus glandulosa._ A rapid grower, with large pinnate
leaves; the staminate plant possesses a disagreeable odor when it
flowers; suckers badly; most useful as a shrub; see the same under
Shrubs (also Fig. 50).
Alder, _Alnus glutinosa._ The var. _imperialis_(DD) is one of the best
cut-leaved small trees.
European birch, _Betula alba._
Cut-leaved weeping birch, _B. alba_ var. _laciniata pendula._(DD)
American white birch, _B. populifolia._(A)
Paper, or canoe birch, _B. papyrifera._(A)
Cherry birch, _B. lenta._ (A)
Well-grown specimens resemble the sweet cherry; both this and the yellow
birch (_B. lutea_(A)) make attractive light-leaved trees; they are not
Hornbeam or blue beech, _Carpinus Americana._(A) Chestnut, _Castanea
saliva_(D) and _C. Americana._(A)(D)
Showy catalpa, _Catalpa speciosa._(D)(DD) Very dark, soft-foliaged tree
of small to medium size; showy in flower; for northern regions should be
raised from northern-grown seed.
Smaller catalpa, _C. bignonioides._(D) Less showy than the last,
blooming a week or two later; less hardy.
Japanese catalpa, _C. ovata_ (_C. Koempferi_).(DD) In northern sections
often remains practically a bush.
Nettle-tree, _Celtis occidentalis._(A)
Katsura-tree, _Cercidiphyllum Japonicum._(DD) A small or medium-sized
tree of very attractive foliage and habit.
Red-bud, or Judas-tree, _Cercis Canadensis._(A) Produces a profusion of
rose-purple pea-like flowers before the leaves appear; foliage also
Yellow-wood, or virgilia, _Cladrastis tinctoria._(A) One of the finest
hardy flowering trees.
Beech, _Fagus ferruginea._(A)(D) Specimens which are symmetrically
developed are among our best lawn trees; picturesque in winter.
European beech, _F. sylvatica._(D) Many cultural forms, the
purple-leaved being everywhere known. There are excellent tricolored
varieties and weeping forms.
Black ash, _Fraxinus nigra_ (_F. sambucifolia_).(A)(D) One of the best
of the light-leaved trees; does well on dry soils, although native to
swamps; not appreciated.
White ash, _F. Americana._(A)(D)
European ash, _F. excelsior._(D) There is a good weeping form of this.
Maiden-hair tree, _Ginkgo biloba_ (_Salisburia adiantifolia_).(DD) Very
odd and striking; to be used for single specimens or avenues.
Honey locust, _Gleditschia triacanthos._(A)(D) Tree of striking habit,
with big branching thorns and very large pods; there is also a
Kentucky coffee-tree, _Gymnocladus Canadensis._(A) Light and graceful;
unique in winter.
Bitternut, _Hicoria minima_ (or _Carya amara_).(A) Much like black ash
in aspect; not appreciated.
Hickory, _Hicoria ovata_ (or _Carya_) (A)(D)(DD) and others.
Pecan, _H. Pecan._(A)(D) Hardy in places as far north as New Jersey, and
reported still farther.
Butternut, _Juglans cinerea._(A)
Walnut, _J. nigra._(A)
Varnish-tree, _Koelreuteria paniculata._ A medium-sized tree of good
character, producing a profusion of golden-yellow flowers in July;
should be better known.
European larch, _Larix decidua (L. Europoea_).(DD)
American larch or tamarack, _L. Americana._(A)
Gum-tree, sweet gum, _Liquidambar styraciflua._(A)(D) A good tree,
reaching as far north as Connecticut, and hardy in parts of western New
York although not growing large; foliage maple-like; a characteristic
tree of the South.
Tulip tree or whitewood, _Liriodendron Tulipifera._(A)(D) Unique in
foliage and flower and deserving to be more planted.
Cucumber tree, _Magnolia acuminata._(A)(D) Native in the Northern
White bay-tree, _M. glauca._(A)(D) Very attractive small tree, native
along the coast to Massachusetts; where not hardy, the young growth each
year is good.
Of the foreign magnolias hardy in the North, two species and one group
of hybrids are prominent: _M. stellata_ (or _M. Halleana_) and _M.
Yulan_ (or _M. conspicua),_ both white-flowered, the former very early
and having 9-18 petals and the latter (which is a larger tree) having
6-9 petals; _M. Soulangeana,_ a hybrid group including the forms known
as _Lennei, nigra, Norbertiana, speciosa, grandis._ All these magnolias
are deciduous and bloom before the leaves appear.
Mulberry, _Morus rubra._(A)
White mulberry, _M. alba._
Russian mulberry, _M. alba_ var. _Tatarica._ Teas' weeping mulberry is a
form of the Russian.
Pepperidge or gum-tree, _Nyssa sylvatica_(A) One of the oddest and most
picturesque of our native trees; especially attractive in winter;
foliage brilliant red in autumn; most suitable for low lands.
Iron-wood, hop hornbeam, _Ostrya Virginica._(A) A good small tree, with
Sourwood, sorrel-tree, _Oxydendrum arboreum._(A) Interesting small tree
native from Pennsylvania in the high land south, and should be reliable
where it grows wild.
Plane or buttonwood, _Platanus occidentalis_(A)(D)(DD) Young or
middle-aged trees are soft and pleasant in aspect, but they soon become
thin and ragged below; unique in winter.
European plane-tree, _P. orientalis._(D) Much used for street planting,
but less picturesque than the American; several forms.
Aspen, _Populus tremuloides,_(A) Very valuable when well grown; too much
neglected (Fig. 33). Most of the poplars are suitable for pleasure
grounds, and as nurses for slower growing and more emphatic trees.
Large-toothed aspen, _P. grandidentata._(A) Unique in summer color;
heavier in aspect than the above; old trees become ragged.
Weeping poplar, _P. grandidentata,_ var. _pendula._ An odd, small tree,
suitable for small places, but, like all weeping trees, likely to be
planted too freely.
Cottonwood, _P. deltoides_ (_P. monilifera_).(A) The staminate
specimens, only, should be planted if possible, as the cotton of the
seed-pods is disagreeable when carried by winds; var. _aurea_(DD) is one
of the good golden-leaved trees.
Balm of Gilead, _P. balsamifera_(A) and var. _candicans._(A) Desirable
for remote groups or belts. Foliage not pleasant in color.
Lombardy poplar, _P. nigra,_ var. _Italica._
Desirable for certain purposes, but used too indiscriminately, it is
likely to be short-lived in northern climates.
White poplar, abele, _P. alba._
Sprouts badly; several forms.
Bolle's poplar, _P. alba,_ var. _Bolleana._
Habit much like the Lombardy; leaves curiously lobed, very white
beneath, making a pleasant contrast.
Certinensis poplar, _P. laurifolia_ (_P. Certinensis_).
A very hardy Siberian species, much like _P. deltoides,_ useful for
Wild black cherry, _Prunus serotina._(A)
European bird cherry, _Prunus Padus._
A small tree much like the choke cherry, but a freer grower, with larger
flowers, and racemes which appear about a week later.
Choke cherry, _P. Virginiana._(A)
Very showy while in flower.
Purple plum, _Prunus cerasifera,_ var. _atropurpurea_ (var. _Pissardi_).
One of our most reliable purple-leaved trees.
Rose-bud cherry, _P. pendula_ (_P. subhirtella_).
A tree of drooping habit and beautiful rose-pink flowers preceding the
Japanese flowering cherry, _P. Pseudo-Cerasus._
In many forms, the famous flowering cherries of Japan, but not reliable
There are ornamental-flowered peaches and cherries, more curious and
interesting than useful.
Wild crab, _Pyrus coronaria_(A) and _P. Ioensis._(A)
Very showy while in flower, blooming after apple blossoms have fallen;
old specimens become picturesque in form. _P. Ioensis flore pleno_(DD)
(Bechtel's Crab) is a handsome double form.
Siberian crab, _P. baccata._(DD) Excellent small tree, both in flower
Flowering crab, _Pyrus floribunda._ Pretty both in flower and fruit; a
large shrub or small tree; various forms.
Hall's crab, _P. Halliana_ (_P. Parkmani_). One of the best of the
flowering crabs, particularly the double form. Various forms of
double-flowering apple are on the market.
Swamp white oak, _Quercus bicolor._(A)(D) A desirable tree, usually
neglected; very picturesque in winter.
Bur oak, _Q. macrocarpa._(A)(D)
Chestnut oak, _Q. Prinus,_(A)(D) and especially the closely related _Q.
Muhlenbergii_ (or _Q. acuminata_).(A)(D)
White oak, _Q. alba_(A)(D)
Shingle oak, _Q. imbricaria._(A)(D)
Scarlet oak, _Q. coccinea._(A)(D) This and the next two are
glossy-leaved, and are desirable for bright planting.
Black oak, _Q. velutina_ (_Q. tinctoria_).(A)(D)
Red oak, _Q. rubra._(A)(D)(DD)
Pin oak, _Q. palustris._(A)(D) Excellent for avenues; transplants well.
Willow oak, _Q. Phellos_(A)
English oak, _Q. Robur._ Many forms represented by two types, probably
good species, _Q. pedunculata_ (with stalked acorns) and _Q.
sessiliflora_ (with stalkless acorns). Some of the forms are reliable in
the Northern states.
The oaks are slow growers and usually transplant with difficulty.
Natural specimens are most valuable. A large well-grown oak is one of
the grandest of trees.
Locust, _Robinia Pseudacacia._(A)(D) Attractive in flower; handsome as
single specimens when young; many forms; used also for hedges.
Peach-leaved willow, _Salix amygdaloides._(A) Very handsome small tree,
deserving more attention. This and the next valuable in low places or
Black willow, _S. nigra._(A)
Weeping willow, _S. Babylonica._
To be planted sparingly, preferably near water; the sort known as the
Wisconsin weeping willow appears to be much hardier than the common
type; many forms.
White willow, _S. alba,_ and various varieties, one of which is the
Tree willows are most valuable, as a rule, when used for temporary
plantations or as nurses for better trees.
Laurel-leaved willow, _S. laurifolia_(DD)
A small tree used in cold regions for shelter-belts; also a good
ornamental tree. See also under Shrubs.
Sassafras, _Sassafras officinalis._(A)(D)
Suitable in the borders of groups or for single specimens; peculiar in
winter; too much neglected.
Rowan or European mountain ash, _Sorbus Aucuparia_ (_Pyrus
Service-tree, _S. domestica._
Fruit handsomer than that of the mountain ash and more persistent; small
Oak-leaved mountain ash, _S. hybrida_ (_S. quercifolia_).
Small tree, deserving to be better known.
Bald cypress, _Taxodium distichum._(A)
Not entirely hardy at Lansing, Mich.; often becomes scraggly after
fifteen or twenty years, but a good tree; many cultural forms.
American linden or basswood, _Tilia Americana._(A)(D)
Very valuable for single trees on large lawns, or for roadsides.
European linden, _T. vulgaris_ and _T. platyphyllos_ (_T. Europaea_ of
nurserymen is probably usually the latter).(D)
Has the general character of the American basswood.
European silver linden, _T. tomentosa_ and varieties.(D)
Very handsome; leaves silvery white beneath; among others is a weeping
American elm, _Ulmus Americana._(A)(D)
One of the most graceful and variable of trees; useful for many purposes
and a standard street tree.
Cork elm, _U. racemosa._(A) Softer in aspect than the last, and more
picturesque in winter, having prominent ridges of bark on its branches;
Red or slippery elm, _U. fulva._(A) Occasionally useful in a group or
shelter-belt; a stiff grower.
English elm, _U. campestris,_ and Scotch or wych elm, _U. scabra_ (_U.
mantana_). Often planted, but are inferior to _U. Americana_ for street
planting, although useful in collections. These have many
_Non-coniferous trees for the South._
Among deciduous trees for the region of Washington and south may be
mentioned: Acer, the American and European species as for the North;
_Catalpa bignonioides_ and especially _C. speciosa;_ celtis; cercis,
both American and Japanese; flowering dogwood, profusely native; white
ash; ginkgo; koelreuteria; sweet gum (liquidambar); American linden;
tulip tree; magnolias much as for the North; China-berry (_Melia
Azedarach_); Texas umbrella-tree (var. _umbraculiformis_ of the
preceding); mulberries; oxydendrum; paulownia; oriental plane-tree;
native oaks of the regions; _Robinia Pseudacacia;_ weeping willow;
_Sophora Japonica; Sterculia platanifolia;_ American elm.
Broad-leaved evergreens of real tree size useful for the South may be
found among the cherry laurels, magnolias, and oaks. Among the cherry
laurels are: Portugal laurel (_Prunus Lusitanica_), English cherry
laurel in several forms (_P. Laurocerasus_), and the "mock-orange" or
"wild orange" (_P. Caroliniana_). In magnolia, the splendid _M.
grandiflora_ is everywhere used. In oaks, the live-oak (_Quercus
Virginiana,_ known also as _Q. virens_ and _Q. sempervirens_) is the
universal species. The cork oak (_Q. Suber_) is also recommended.
[Illustration XVI: The flower-garden of China asters with border, one
of the dusty millers _(Centaurea)._]
8. CONIFEROUS EVERGREEN SHRUBS AND TREES
In this country the word "evergreen" is understood to mean coniferous
trees with persistent leaves, as pines, spruces, firs, cedars, junipers,
arborvitae, retinosporas, and the like. These trees have always been
favorites with plant lovers, as they have very distinctive forms and
other characteristics. Many of them are of the easiest culture.
It is a common notion that, since spruces and other conifers grow so
symmetrically, they will not stand pruning; but this is an error. They
may be pruned with as good effect as other trees, and if they tend to
grow too tall, the leader may be stopped without fear. A new leader will
arise, but in the meantime the upward growth of the tree will be
somewhat checked, and the effect will be to make the tree dense. The
tips of the branches may also be headed in with the same effect. The
beauty of an evergreen lies in its natural form; therefore, it should
not be sheared into unusual shapes, but a gentle trimming back, as I
suggested, will tend to prevent the Norway spruce and others from
growing open and ragged. After the tree attains some age, 4 or 5 in. may
be taken off the ends of the main branches every year or two (in spring
before growth begins) with good results. This slight trimming is
ordinarily done with Waters's long-handled pruning shears.
There is much difference of opinion as to the proper time for the
transplanting of evergreens, which means that there is more than one
season in which they may be moved. It is ordinarily unsafe to transplant
them in the fall in northern climates or bleak situations, since the
evaporation from the foliage during the winter is likely to injure the
plant. The best results are usually secured in spring or summer
planting. In spring they may be moved rather late, just as new growth is
beginning. Some persons also plant them in August or early September, as
the roots secure a hold on the soil before winter. In the Southern
states transplanting may be done at most times of the year, but late
fall and early spring are usually advised.
In transplanting conifers, it is very important that the roots be not
exposed to the sun. They should be moistened and covered with burlaps or
other material. The holes should be ready to receive them. If the trees
are large, or if it has been necessary to trim in the roots, the top
should be cut when the tree is set.
Large evergreens (those 10 ft. and more high) are usually best
transplanted late in winter, at a time when a large ball of earth may be
moved with them. A trench is dug around the tree, it being deepened a
little day by day so that the frost can work into the earth and hold it
in shape. When the ball is thoroughly frozen, it is hoisted on to a
stone-boat or truck (Fig. 148) and moved to its new position.
Perhaps the handsomest of all the native conifers of the northeastern
United States is the ordinary hemlock, or hemlock spruce (the one so
much used for lumber); but it is usually difficult to move. Transplanted
trees from nurseries are usually safest. If the trees are taken from the
wild, they should be selected from open and sunny places.
For neat and compact effects near porches and along walks, the dwarf
retinosporas are very useful.
Most of the pines and spruces are too coarse for planting very close to
the residence. They are better at some distance removed, where they
serve as a background to other planting. If they are wanted for
individual specimens, they should be given plenty of room, so that the
limbs will not be crowded and the tree become misshapen. Whatever else
is done to the spruces and firs, the lower limbs should not be trimmed
up, at least not until the tree has become so old that the lowest
branches die. Some species hold their branches much longer than others.
The oriental spruce (_Picea orientalis_) is one of the best in this
respect. The occasional slight heading-in, that has been mentioned,
will tend to preserve the lower limbs, and it will not be marked enough
to alter the form of the tree.
The number of excellent coniferous evergreens now offered in the
American trade is large. They are slow of growth and require much room
if good specimens are to be obtained; but if the space can be had and
the proper exposure secured, no trees add greater dignity and
distinction to an estate. Reliable comments on the rarer conifers may be
found in the catalogues of the best nurserymen.
_List of shrubby conifers._
The following list contains the most usual of the shrub-like coniferous
evergreens, with (A) to mark those native to this country. The (DD) in
this and the succeeding list marks those species that are found to be
hardy at Ottawa, Ontario, and are recommended by the Central
Experimental Farm of Canada.
Dwarf arborvitae, _Thuja occidentalis._(A)
There are many dwarf and compact varieties of arborvitae, most of which
are excellent for small places. The most desirable for general purposes,
and also the largest, is the so-called Siberian. Other very desirable
forms are those sold as _globosa, ericoides, compacta,(DD) Hovey,(DD)
Ellwangeriana,(DD) pyramidalis,(DD) Wareana_ (or _Sibirica_),(DD) and
Japanese arborvitae or retinospora, _Chamoecyparis_ of various species.
Retinosporas(DD) under names as follows: _Cupressus ericoides,_ 2 ft.,
with fine soft delicate green foliage that assumes a purplish tinge in
winter; _C. pisifera,_ one of the best, with a pendulous habit and
bright green foliage; _C. pisifera_ var. _filifera,_ with drooping
branches and thread-like pendulous branches; _C. pisifera_ var.
_plumosa,_ more compact than _P. pisifera_ and feathery; var. _aurea_ of
the last, "one of the most beautiful golden-leaved evergreen shrubs in
Juniper, _Juniperus communis_(A) and garden varieties.
The juniper is a partially trailing plant, of loose habit, suitable for
banks and rocky places. There are upright and very formal varieties of
it, the best being those sold as var. _Hibernica (fastigiata)_,(DD)
"Irish juniper," and var. _Suecica,_ "Swedish juniper." Northern
juniper, _J. Sabina,_ var. _prostrata_(A) One of the best of the low,
diffuse conifers; var. _tamariscifolia,_(DD) 1-2 ft.
Chinese and Japanese junipers in many forms, _J. Chinensis._
Dwarf Norway spruce, _Picea excelsa,_ dwarf forms. Several very dwarf
sorts of the Norway spruce are in cultivation, some of which are to be
Dwarf pine, _Pinus montana,_ var. _pumilio._
Mugho pine, _Pinus montana,_ var. _Mughus._(DD) There are other
desirable dwarf pines.
Wild yew, _Taxus Canadensis._(A) Common in woods; a wide-spreading plant
known as "ground hemlock"; 3-4 ft.
The evergreen conifers that one is likely to plant may be roughly
classed as pines; spruces and firs; cedars and junipers;
White Pine, _Pinus Strobus._(A)(DD) The best native species for general
planting; retains its bright green color in winter.
Austrian pine, _P. Austriaca._(DD) Hardy, coarse, and rugged; suitable
only for large areas; foliage very dark.
Scotch pine, _P. sylvestris._(DD) Not so coarse as Austrian pine, with a
lighter and bluer foliage.
Red pine, P. _resinosa_(A)(DD) Valuable in groups and belts; usually
called "Norway pine"; rather heavy in expression.
Bull pine, P. _ponderosa._(A)(DD) A strong majestic tree, deserving to
be better known in large grounds; native westward.
Cembrian pine, _Pinus Cembra._ A very fine slow-growing tree; one of the
few standard pines suitable for small places.
Scrub pine, _P. divaricata_ (_P. Banksiana_).(A)
A small tree, more odd and picturesque than beautiful, but desirable in
Mugho pine, _P. montana_ var. _Mughus._(DD)
Usually more a bush than a tree (2 to 12 ft.), although it may attain a
height of 20-30 ft.; mentioned under Shrubs.
Norway spruce, _Picea excelsa._(DD)
The most commonly planted spruce; loses much of its peculiar beauty when
thirty to fifty years of age; several dwarf and weeping forms.
White spruce, _P. alba._(A)(DD)
One of the finest of the spruces; a more compact grower than the last,
and not so coarse; grows slowly.
Oriental spruce, _P. orientalis._
Especially valuable from its habit of holding its lowest limbs; grows
slowly; needs some shelter.
Colorado blue spruce, _P. pungens._(A)(DD)
In color the finest of the conifers; grows slowly; seedlings vary much
Alcock's spruce, _P. Alcockiana._(DD)
Excellent; foliage has silvery under surfaces.
Hemlock spruce, _Tsuga Canadensis._(A)
The common lumber hemlock, but excellent for hedges and as a lawn tree;
young trees may need partial protection from sun.
White fir, _Abies concolor._(A)(DD)
Probably the best of the native firs for the northeastern region; leaves
Nordmann's fir, _A. Nordmanniana._
Excellent in every way; leaves shining above and lighter beneath.
Balsam fir, _A. balsamea._(A)
Loses most of its beauty in fifteen or twenty years.
Douglas fir, _Pseudotsuga Douglasii._(A)(DD)
Majestic tree of the northern Pacific slope, hardy in the east when
grown from seeds from far north or high mountains.
Red cedar, _Juniperus Virginiana_(A)
A common tree, North and South; several horticultural varieties.
Arborvitae (white cedar, erroneously), _Thuja occidentalis._(A)
Becomes unattractive after ten or fifteen years on poor soils; the
horticultural varieties are excellent; see p. 333, and Hedges, p. 220.
Japanese yew, _Taxus cuspidata._
Hardy small tree.
_Conifers for the South._
Evergreen conifers, trees and bushes, for regions south of Washington:
_Abies Fraseri_ and _A. Picea_ (_A. pectinata_); Norway spruce; true
cedars, _Cedrus Atlantica_ and _Deodara;_ cypress, _Cupressus Goveniana,
majestica, sempervirens; Chamoecyparis Lawsoniana;_ practically all
junipers, including the native cedar (_Juniperus Virginiana_);
practically all arborvitae, including the oriental or biota group;
retinosporas (forms of chamaecyparis and thuja of several kinds);
Carolina hemlock, _Tsuga Caroliniana;_ English yew, _Taxus baccata;
Libocedrus decurrens;_ cephalotaxus and podocarpus; cryptomeria; Bhotan
pine, _Pinus excelsa;_ and the native pines of the regions.
Although the making of window-gardens may not be properly a part of the
planting and ornamenting of the home grounds, yet the appearance of the
residence has a marked effect on the attractiveness or unattractiveness
of the premises; and there is no better place than this in which to
discuss the subject. Furthermore, window-gardening is closely associated
with various forms of temporary plant protection about the residence
Window-gardens are of two types: the window-box and porch-box type, in
which the plants are grown outside the window and which is a summer or
warm-weather effort; the interior or true window-garden, made for the
enjoyment of the family in its internal relations, and which is chiefly
a winter or cold-weather effort.
[Illustration: Fig. 268. A protection for chrysanthemums. Very good
plants can be grown under a temporary shed cover. The roof may be of
glass, oiled paper, or even of wood. Such a shed cover will afford a
very effective and handy protection for many plants.]
_The window-box for outside effect._
Handsomely finished boxes, ornamental tiling, and bracket work of wood
and iron suitable for fitting out windows for the growing of plants, are
on the market; but such, while desirable, are by no means necessary. A
stout pine box of a length corresponding to the width of the window,
about 10 inches wide and 6 deep, answers quite as well as a finer box,
since it will likely be some distance above the street, and its sides,
moreover, are soon covered by the vines. A zinc tray of a size to fit
into the wooden box may be ordered of the tinsmith. It will tend to keep
the soil from drying out so rapidly, but it is not a necessity. A few
small holes in the bottom will provide for drainage; but with
carefulness in watering these are not necessary, since the box by its
exposed position will dry out readily during summer weather, unless the
position is a shaded one. In the latter case provision for good drainage
is always advisable.
Since there is more or less cramping of roots, it will be necessary to
make the soil richer than would be required were the plants to grow in
the garden. The most desirable soil is one that does not pack hard like
clay, nor contract much when dry, but remains porous and springy. Such a
soil is found in the potting earth used by florists, and it may be
obtained from them at 50 cents to $1 a barrel. Often the nature of the
soil will be such as to make it desirable to have at hand a barrel of
sharp sand for mixing with it, to make it more porous and prevent
baking. A good filling for a deep box is a layer of clinkers or other
drainage in the bottom, a layer of pasture sod, a layer of old cow
manure, and fill with fertile garden earth.
Some window-gardeners pot the plants and then set them in the
window-box, filling the spaces between the pots with moist moss. Others
plant them directly in the earth. The former method, as a general rule,
is to be preferred in the winter window-garden; the latter in
The plants most valuable for outside boxes are those of drooping habit,
such as lobelias, tropeolums, othonna, Kenilworth ivy, verbena (Fig.
269), sweet alyssum, and petunia. Such plants may occupy the front row,
while back of them may be the erect-growing plants, as geraniums,
heliotropes, begonias (Plate XX).
For shady situations the main dependence is on plants of graceful form
or handsome foliage; while for the sunny window the selection may be of
blooming plants. Of the plants mentioned below for these two positions,
those marked with an asterisk (A) are of climbing habit, and may be
trained up about the sides of the window.
[Illustration: Fig. 269. Bouquet of verbenas.]
Just what plants will be most suitable depends on the exposure. For the
shady side of the street, the more delicate kinds of plants may be
used. For full exposure to the sun, it will be necessary to choose the
more vigorous-growing kinds. In the latter position, suitable plants for
drooping would be: tropeolums,(A) passifloras,(A) the single petunias,
sweet alyssum, lobelias, verbenas, mesembryanthemums. For erect-growing
plants: geraniums, heliotropes, phlox. If the position is a shaded one,
the drooping plants might be of the following: tradescantia, Kenilworth
ivy, senecio(A) or parlor ivy, sedums, moneywort,(A) vinca, smilax,(A)
lygodium(A) or climbing fern. Erect-growing plants would be dracenas,
palms, ferns, coleus, centaurea, spotted calla, and others.
After the plants have filled the earth with roots, it will be desirable
to give the surface among them a very light sprinkling of bone-dust or a
thicker coating of rotted manure from time to time during the summer; or
instead of this, a watering with weak liquid manure about once a week.
This is not necessary, however, until the growth shows that the roots
have about exhausted the soil.
In the fall the box may be placed on the inside of the window. In this
case it will be desirable to thin out the foliage somewhat, shorten in
some of the vines, and perhaps remove some of the plants. It will also
be desirable to give a fresh coating of rich soil. Increased care will
be necessary, also, in watering, since the plants will have less light
than previously, and, moreover, there may be no provision for drainage.
Porch-boxes may be made in the same general plan. Since the plants are
likely to be injured in porch-boxes, and since these boxes should have
some architectural effect, it is well to use abundantly of rather heavy
greenery, such as swordfern (the common form of _Nephrolepis exaltata_)
or the Boston fern, _Asparagus Sprengeri,_ wandering jew, the large
drooping vinca (perhaps the variegated form), aspidistra. With these or
similar things constituting the body of the box planting, the flowering
plants may be added to heighten the effect.
_The inside window-garden, or "house plants._"
The winter window-garden may consist simply of a jardiniere, or a few
choice pot-plants on a stand at the window, or of a considerable
collection with more or less elaborate arrangements for their
accommodation in the way of box, brackets, shelves, and stands.
Expensive arrangements are by no means necessary, nor is a large
collection. The plants and flowers themselves are the main
consideration, and a small collection well cared for is better than a
large one unless it can be easily accommodated and kept in good
The box will be seen near at hand, and so it may be more or less
ornamental in character. The sides may be covered with ornamental tile
held in place by molding; or a light latticework of wood surrounding the
box is pretty. But a neatly made and strong box of about the dimensions
mentioned on page 337, with a strip of molding at the top and bottom,
answers just as well; and if painted green, or some neutral shade, only
the plants will be seen or thought of. Brackets, jardinieres, and stands
may be purchased of any of the larger florists.
The box may consist of merely the wooden receptacle; but a preferable
arrangement is to make it about eight inches deep instead of six, then
have the tinsmith make a zinc tray to fit the box. This is provided with
a false wooden bottom, with cracks for drainage, two inches above the
real bottom of the tray. The plants will then have a vacant space below
them into which drainage water may pass. Such a box may be thoroughly
watered as the plants require without danger of the water running on the
carpet. Of course, a faucet should be provided at some suitable point on
a level with the bottom of the tray, to permit of its being drained
every day or so if the water tends to accumulate. It would not do to
allow the water to remain long; especially should it never rise to the
false bottom, as then the soil would be kept too wet.
The window for plants should have a southern, southeastern, or eastern
exposure. Plants need all the light they can get in the winter,
especially those that are expected to bloom. The window should be
tight-fitting. Shutters and a curtain will be an advantage in
Plants like a certain uniformity in conditions. It is very trying on
them, and often fatal to success, to have them snug and warm one night
and pinched in a temperature only a few degrees above freezing the next.
Some plants will live in spite of it, but they cannot be expected to
prosper. Those whose rooms are heated with steam, hot water, or hot air
will have to guard against keeping rooms too warm fully as much as
keeping them too cool. Rooms in brick dwellings that have been warm all
day, if shut up and made snug in the evening, will often keep warm over
night without heat except in the coldest weather. Rooms in frame
dwellings exposed on all sides soon cool down.
It is difficult to grow plants in rooms lighted by gas. Most
living-rooms have air too dry for plants. In such cases the bow-window
may be set off from the room by glass doors; one then has a miniature
conservatory. A pan of water on the stove or on the register and damp
moss among the pots, will help to afford plants the necessary humidity.
The foliage will need cleansing from time to time to free it from dust.
A bath tub provided with a ready outlet for the water is an excellent
place for this purpose. The plants may be turned on their sides and
supported on a small box above the bottom of the tub. Then they may be
freely syringed without danger of making the soil too wet. It is usually
advisable not to wet the flowers, however, especially the white waxen
kinds, like hyacinths. The foliage of rex begonias should be cleansed
with a piece of dry or only slightly moist cotton. But if the leaves can
be quickly dried off by placing them in the open air on mild days, or
moderately near the stove, the foliage may be syringed.
Some persons attach the box to the window, or support it on brackets
attached below the window-sill; but a preferable arrangement is to
support the box on a low and light stand of suitable height provided
with rollers. It may then be drawn back from the window, turned around
from time to time to give the plants light on all sides, or turned with
the attractive side in as may be desired.
Often the plants are set directly in the soil; but if they are kept in
pots they may be rearranged, and changed about to give those which need
it more light. Larger plants that are to stand on shelves or brackets
may be in porous earthenware pots; but the smaller ones that are to fill
the window-box may be placed in heavy paper pots. The sides of these are
flexible, and the plants in them therefore may be crowded close together
with great economy in space. When pots are spaced, damp sphagnum or
other moss among them will hold them in place, keep the soil from drying
out too rapidly, and at the same time give off moisture, so grateful to
In addition to the stand, or box, a bracket for one or more pots on
either side of the window, about one-third or half-way up, will be
desirable. The bracket should turn on a basal hinge or pivot, to admit
of swinging it forward or backward. These bracket plants usually suffer
for moisture, and are rather difficult to manage.
Florists now usually grow plants suitable for window-gardens and winter
flowering, and any intelligent florist, if asked, will take pleasure in
making out a suitable collection. The plants should be ordered early in
the fall; the florist will then not be so crowded for time and can give
the matter better attention.
Most of the plants suitable for the winter window-garden belong to the
groups that florists grow in their medium and cool houses. The former
are given a night temperature of about 60 deg., the latter about 50 deg.
In each case the temperature is 10 to 15 deg. higher for the daytime.
Five degrees of variation below these temperatures will be allowable
without any injurious effects; even more may be borne, but not without
more or less check to the plants. In bright, sunny weather the day
temperature may be higher than in cloudy and dark weather.
Plants for an average night temperature of 60 deg. (trade names).
_Upright flowering plants,_--Abutilons, browallias, calceolaria "Lincoln
Park," begonias, bouvardias, euphorbias, scarlet sage, richardia or
calla, heliotropes, fuchsias, Chinese hibiscus, jasmines, single
petunias, swainsona, billbergia, freesias, geraniums, eupheas.
_Upright foliage plants._--Muehlenbeckia, _Cycas revoluta, Dracoena
fragans_ and others, palms, cannas, _Farfugium grande,_ achyranthes,
ferns, araucarias, epiphyllums, pandanus or "screw pine," _Pilea
arborea, Ficus elastica, Grevillea robusta._
_Climbing plants._--_Asparagus tenuissimus, A. plumosus, Coboea
scandens,_ smilax, Japanese hop, Madeira vine (Boussingaultia), _Senecio
mikanioides_ and _S. macroglossus_ (parlor ivies). See also list below.
_Low-growing, trailing, or drooping plants._--These may be used for
baskets and edgings. Flowering kinds are: Sweet alyssum, lobelia,
_Fuchsia procumbens,_ mesembryanthemum, _Oxalis pendula, 0. floribunda_
and others, _Russelia juncea, Mahernia odorata_ or honey-bell.
_Foliage plants of drooping habit._--Vincas, _Saxifraga sarmentosa,_
Kenilworth ivy, tradescantia or wandering jew, _Festuca glauca_(A)
othonna, _Isolepsis gracilis,_(A) English ivy, _Selaginella
denticulata,_ and others. Some of these plants flower quite freely, but
the flowers are small and of secondary consideration. Those with an
asterisk (A) droop but slightly.
Plants for an average night temperature of 50 deg..
_Upright flowering plants._--Azaleas, cyclamens, carnations,
chrysanthemums, geraniums, Chinese primroses, stevias, marguerite or
Paris daisy, single petunias, _Anthemis coronaria,_ camellias, ardisia
(berries), cinerarias, violets, hyacinths, narcissus, tulips, the Easter
lily when in bloom, and others.
_Upright foliage plants._--Pittosporums, palms, aucuba, euonymus (golden
and silvery variegated), araucarias, pandanus, dusty millers.
_Climbing plants._--English ivy, maurandia, senecio or parlor ivy,
lygodium (climbing fern).
_Drooping or trailing plants._--Flowering kinds are: Sweet alyssum,
_Mahernia odorata,_ Russelia and ivy geranium.
_Bulbs in the window-garden._
Bulbs flowering through the winter add to the list of house plants a
charming variety. The labor, time, and skill required is much less than
for growing many of the larger plants more commonly used for winter
decorations (for instructions on growing bulbs out-of-doors, see p. 281;
also the entries in Chapter VIII).
Hyacinths, narcissus, tulips, and crocus, and others can be made to
flower in the winter without difficulty. Secure the bulbs so as to be
able to pot them by the middle or last of October, or if earlier all the
better. The soil should be rich sandy loam, if possible; if not, the
best that can be got, to which about one-fourth the bulk of sand is
added and mixed thoroughly.
If ordinary flower-pots are to be used, place in the bottom a few pieces
of broken pots, charcoal, or small stones for drainage, then fill the
pot with dirt so that when the bulbs are set on the dirt the top of the
bulb is even with the rim of the pot. Fill around it with soil, leaving
just the tip of the bulb showing above the earth. If the soil is heavy,
a good plan is to sprinkle a small handful of sand under the bulb to
carry off the water, as is done in the beds outdoors. If one does not
have pots, he may use boxes. Starch boxes are a good size to use, as
they are not heavy to handle; and excellent flowers are sometimes
secured from bulbs planted in old tomato-cans. If boxes or cans are
used, care must be taken to have holes in the bottoms to let the water
run out. A large hyacinth bulb will do well in a 5-inch pot. The same
size pot will do for three or four narcissuses or eight to
After the bulbs are planted in the pots or other receptacles, they
should be placed in a cool place, either in a cold pit or cellar, or on
the shady side of a building, or, better yet, plunged or buried up to
the rim of the pot in a shady border. This is done to force the roots to
grow while the top stands still, as only the bulbs with good roots will
give good flowers. When the weather gets so cold that a crust is frozen
on the soil, the pots should be covered with a little straw, and as the
weather gets colder more straw must be used. In six to eight weeks after
planting the bulbs, they should have made roots enough to grow the
plant, and they may be taken up and placed in a cool room for a week or
so, after which, if they have started into growth, they may be taken
into a warmer room where they can have plenty of light. They will grow
very rapidly now and will want much water, and after the flowers begin
to show, the pots may stand in a saucer of water all the time. When just
coming into bloom the plants may have full sunlight part of the time to
help bring out the color of the flowers.
Hyacinths, tulips, and narcissus all require similar treatment. When
well rooted, which will be in six or eight weeks, they are brought out
and given a temperature of some 55 deg. to 60 deg. till the flowers
appear, when they should be kept in a cooler temperature, say 50 deg.
The single Roman hyacinth is an excellent house plant. The flowers are
small, but they are graceful and are well adapted to cutting. It is
The Easter lily is managed the same way, except to hasten its flowers it
should be kept at not lower than 60 deg. at night. Warmer will be better.
Lily bulbs may be covered an inch or more deep in the pots.
Freesias may be potted six or more in a pot of mellow soil, and then
started into growth at once. At first they may be given a night
temperature of 50 deg.; and 55 deg. to 60 deg. when they have begun to
Small bulbs, as snowdrop and crocus, are planted several or a dozen in a
pot and buried, or treated like hyacinths; but they are very sensitive
to heat, and require to be given the light only when they have started
to grow, without any forcing. Forty to 45 deg. will be as warm as they ever
need be kept.
_Watering house plants._
It is impossible to give rules for the watering of plants. Conditions
that hold with one grower are different from those of another. Advice
must be general. Give one good watering at the time of potting, after
which no water should be given until the plants really need it. If, on
tapping the pot, it gives out a clear ring, it is an indication that
water is needed. In the case of a soft-wooded plant, just before the
leaves begin to show signs of wilt is the time for watering. When plants
are taken up from the ground, or have their roots cut back in repotting,
gardeners rely, after the first copious watering, on syringing the tops
two or three times each day, until a new root-growth has started,
watering at the roots only when absolutely necessary. Plants that have
been potted into larger pots will grow without the extra attention of
syringing, but those from the borders that have had their roots
mutilated or shortened, should be placed in a cool, shady spot and be
syringed often. One soon becomes familiar with the wants of individual
plants, and can judge closely as to need of water. All soft-wooded
plants with a large leaf-surface need more water than hard-wooded
plants, and a plant in luxuriant growth of any kind more than one that
has been cut back or become defoliated. When plants are grown in
living-rooms, moisture must be supplied from some source, and if no
arrangement has been made for securing moist air, the plants should be
All plant-growers should learn to withhold water when plants are
"resting" or not in active growth. Thus camellias, azaleas, rex
begonias, palms, and many other things are usually not in their growing
period in fall and midwinter, and they should then have only sufficient
water to keep them in condition. When growth begins, apply water; and
increase the water as the growth becomes more rapid.
To have a good hanging basket, it is necessary that some careful
provision be made to prevent too rapid drying out of the earth. It is
customary, therefore, to line the pot or basket with moss. Open wire
baskets, like a horse muzzle, are often lined with moss and used for the
growing of plants. Prepare the earth by mixing some well-decayed
leafmold with rich garden loam, thereby making an earth that will retain
moisture. Hang the basket in a light place, but still not in direct
sunlight; and, if possible, avoid putting it where it will be exposed to
drying wind. In order to water the basket, it is often advisable to sink
it into a pail or tub of water.
Various plants are well adapted to hanging baskets. Among the drooping
or vine-like kinds are the strawberry geranium, Kenilworth ivy,
maurandia, German ivy, canary-bird flower, _Asparagus Sprengeri,_ ivy
geranium, trailing fuchsia, wandering jew, and othonna. Among the
erect-growing plants that produce flowers, _Lobelia Erinus,_ sweet
alyssum, petunias, oxalis, and various geraniums are to be recommended.
Among foliage plants such things as coleus, dusty miller, begonia, and
some geraniums are adaptable.
A pleasant adjunct to a window-garden, living room, or conservatory, is
a large glass globe or glass box containing water, in which plants and
animals are living and growing. A solid glass tank or globe is better
than a box with glass sides, because it does not leak, but the box must
be used if one wants a large aquarium. For most persons it is better to
buy the aquarium box than to attempt to make it. Five points are
important in making and keeping an aquarium:
(1) The equilibrium between plant and animal life must be secured and
(2) the aquarium must be open on top to the air or well ventilated;
(3) the temperature should be kept between 40 deg. and 50 deg. for ordinary
animals and plants (do not place in full sun in a hot window);
(4) it is well to choose such animals for the aquarium as are adapted to
life in still water;
(5) the water must be kept fresh, either by the proper balance of plant
and animal life or by changing the water frequently, or by both.
The aquatic plants of the neighborhood may be kept in the
aquarium,--such things as myriophyllums, charas, eel-grass, duckmeats or
lemnas, cabomba or fish grass, arrow-leafs or sagittaria, and the like;
also the parrot's feather, to be bought of florists (a species of
myriophyllum). Of animals, there are fishes (particularly minnows),
water insects, tadpoles, clams, snails. If the proper balance is
maintained between plant and animal life, it will not be necessary to
change the water so frequently.
THE GROWING OF THE ORNAMENTAL PLANTS--INSTRUCTIONS ON PARTICULAR KINDS
In the preceding chapter advice is given that applies to groups or
classes of plants, and many lists are inserted to guide the grower in
his choice or at least to suggest to him the kinds of things that may be
grown for certain purposes or conditions. It now remains to give
instructions on the growing of particular kinds or species of plants.
It is impossible to include instructions on any great number of plants
in a book like this. It is assumed that the user of this book already
knows how to grow the familiar or easily handled plants; if he does not,
a book is not likely to help him very much. In this chapter all such
things as the common annuals and perennials and shrubs and trees are
omitted. If the reader is in doubt about any of these, or desires
information concerning them, he will have to consult the catalogues of
responsible seedsmen and nurserymen or cyclopedic works, or go to some
competent person for advice.
In this chapter are brought together instructions on the growing of such
plants commonly found about home grounds and in window-gardens as seem
to demand somewhat special or particular treatment or about which the
novice is likely to ask; and of course these instructions must be brief.
[Illustration: XVII. The peony. One of the most steadfast of garden
It may be repeated here that a person cannot expect to grow a plant
satisfactorily until he learns the natural time of the plant to grow and
to bloom. Many persons handle their begonias, cacti, and azaleas as if
they should be active the whole year round. The key to the situation
is water: at what part of the year to withhold and at what part to apply
is one of the very first things to learn.
ABUTILONS, or flowering maples as they are often called, make good
house plants and bedding plants. Nearly all house gardeners have at
least one plant.
Common abutilons may be grown from seed or from cuttings of young wood.
If the former, the seed should be sown in February or March in a
temperature of not less than 60 deg.. The seedlings should be potted when
about four to six leaves have grown, in a rich sandy soil. Frequent
pottings should be made to insure a rapid growth, making plants large
enough to flower by fall. Or the seedlings may be planted out in the
border when danger of frost is over, and taken up in the fall before
frost; these plants will bloom all winter. About one half of the newer
growth should be cut off when they are taken up, as they are very liable
to spindle up when grown in the house. When grown from cuttings, young
wood should be used, which, after being well rooted, may be treated in
the same way as the seedlings.
The varieties with variegated leaves have been improved until the
foliage effects are equal to the flowers of some varieties; and these
are a great addition to the conservatory or window garden. The staple
spotted-leaved type is _A. Thompsoni._ A compact form, now much used for
bedding and other outdoor work, is _Savitzii,_ which is a horticultural
variety, not a distinct species. The old-fashioned green-leaved _A.
striatum,_ from which _A. Thompsoni_ has probably sprung, is one of the
best. _A. megapotamicum_ or _vexillarium_ is a trailing or drooping
red-and-yellow-flowered species that is excellent for baskets, although
not now much seen. It propagates readily from seed. There is a form with
Abutilons are most satisfactory for house plants when they are not much
more than a year old. They need no special treatment.
AGAPANTHUS, or African lily _(Agapanthus umbellatus_ and several
varieties).--A tuberous-rooted, well-known conservatory or window plant,
blooming in summer. Excellent for porch and yard decoration. It lends
itself to many conditions and proves satisfactory a large part of the
year, the leaves forming a green arch over the pot, covering it entirely
in a well-grown specimen. The flowers are borne in a large cluster on
stems growing 2-3 ft. high, as many as two or three hundred bright blue
flowers often forming on a single plant. A large, well-grown plant
throws up a number of flower-stalks through the early season.
The one essential to free growth is an abundance of water and an
occasional application of manure water. Propagation is effected by
division of the offsets, which may be broken from the main plant in
early spring. After flowering, gradually lessen the quantity of water
until they are placed in winter quarters, which should be a position
free from frost and moderately dry. The agapanthus, being a heavy
feeder, should be grown in strong loam to which is added well-rotted
manure and a little sand. When dormant, the roots will withstand a
Alstremeria.--The alstremerias (of several species) belong to the
amaryllis family, being tuberous-rooted plants, having leafy stems
terminating in a cluster of ten to fifty small lily-shaped flowers of
rich colors in summer.
Most of the alstremerias should be given pot culture, as they are easily
grown and are not hardy in the open in the North. The culture is nearly
that of the amaryllis,--a good, fibrous loam with a little sand, potting
the tubers in early spring or late fall. Start the plants slowly, giving
only enough water to cause root growth; but after growth has become
established, a quantity of water may be given. After flowering they may
be treated as are amaryllis or agapanthus. The roots may be divided, and
the old and weak parts shaken out. The plants grow 1-3 ft. high. The
flowers often have odd colors.
Amaryllis.--The popular name of a variety of house or conservatory
tender bulbs, but properly applied only to the Belladonna lily. Most of
them are hippeastrums, but the culture of all is similar. They are
satisfactory house plants for spring and summer bloom. One difficulty
with their culture is the habit of the flower-stalk starting into growth
before the leaves grow. This is caused in most cases by stimulating root
growth before the bulb has had sufficient rest.
The bulbs should be dormant four or five months in a dry place with a
temperature of about 50 deg.. When wanted to be brought into flower, the
bulbs, if to be repotted, should have all the dirt shaken off and potted
in soil composed of fibrous loam and leafmold, to which should be added
a little sand. If the loam is heavy, place the pot in a warm situation;
a spent hotbed is a good place. Water as needed, and as the flowers
develop liquid manure may be given. If large clumps are well established
in 8-or 10-inch pots, they may be top-dressed with new soil containing
rotted manure, and as growth increases liquid manure may be given twice
a week until the flowers open. After flowering, gradually withhold water
until the leaves die, or plunge the pots in the open, in a sunny place.
The most popular species for window-gardens is _A. Johnsoni_ (properly a
hippeastrum), with red flowers. Figs. 257, 261.
Bulbs received from dealers should be placed in pots not much broader
than the bulb, and the neck of the bulb should not be covered. Keep
rather dry until active growth begins. The ripened bulbs, in fall, may
be stored as potatoes, and then brought out in spring as rapidly as any
of them show signs of growth.
Anemone.--The wind-flowers are hardy perennials, of easy culture, one
group (the _Anemone coronaria, fulgens,_ and _hortensis_ forms) being
treated as bulbs. These tuberous-rooted plants should be planted late in
September or early in October, in a well-enriched sheltered border,
setting the tubers 3 in. deep and 4-6 in. apart. The surface of the
border should be mulched with leaves or strawy manure through the severe
winter weather, uncovering the soil in March. The flowers will appear in
April or May, and in June or July the tubers should be taken up and
placed in dry sand until the following fall. These plants are not as
well known as they should be. The range of color is very wide. The
flowers are often 2 in. across, and are lasting. The tubers may be
planted in pots, bringing them into the conservatory or house at
intervals through the winter, where they make an excellent showing
when in bloom.
The Japanese anemone is a wholly different plant from the above. There
are white-flowered and red-flowered varieties. The best known is _A.
Japonica_ var. _alba,_ or Honorine Jobert. This species blooms from
August to November, and is at that season the finest of border plants.
The pure white flowers, with lemon-colored stamens, are held well up on
stalks 2-3 ft. high. The flower-stems are long and excellent for
cutting. This species may be propagated by division of the plants or by
seed. The former method should be employed in the spring; the latter, as
soon as the seeds are ripe in the fall. Sow the seed in boxes in a warm,
sheltered situation in the border or under glass. The seed should be
covered lightly with soil containing a quantity of sand and not allowed
to become dry. A well-enriched, sheltered position in a border should
The little wild wind-flowers are easily colonized in a hardy border.
ARALIA, _A. Sieboldii_ (properly _Fatsia Japonica_ and _F.
papyrifera),_ as it is sometimes called, and the variety _variegata,_
with large, palmlike leaves, are grown for their tropical appearance.
Sow in February, in shallow trays and light soil, in a temperature of
65 deg.. Continue the temperature. When two or three leaves have formed,
transplant into other trays 1 in. apart. Sprinkle them with a fine rose
or spray; and do not allow them to suffer for water. Later transfer them
to small pots and repot them as they grow. Plant out in beds after the
weather has become warm and settled. Half-hardy perennials in the North,
becoming 3 ft. or more high; a shrub in the South and in California.
Used often in subtropical work.
ARAUCARIA, or Norfolk Island pine, is now sold in pots by florists
as a window plant. There are several species. The greenhouse specimens
are the juvenile state of plants that become large trees in their native
regions; therefore, it is not to be expected that they will keep shapely
and within bounds indefinitely.
The common species _(A. excelsa_) makes a symmetrical evergreen subject.
It keeps well in a cool window, or on the veranda in the summer. Protect
it from direct sunlight, and give plenty of room. If the plant begins to
fail, return it to the florist for recuperation, or procure a new plant.
AURICULA.--A half-hardy perennial of the primrose tribe _(Primula
Auricula),_ very popular in Europe, but little grown in America on
account of the hot, dry summers.
In this country auriculas are usually propagated by seed, as for
cineraria; but special varieties are perpetuated by offsets. Seeds sown
in February or March should give blooming plants for the next February
or March. Keep the plants cool and moist, and away from the direct sun
during the summer. Gardeners usually grow them in frames. In the fall,
they are potted into 3-in. or 4-in. pots, and made to bloom either in
frames as for violets or in a cool conservatory or greenhouse. In April,
after blooming has ceased, repot the plants and treat as the previous
year. As with most annual-blooming perennials, best results are to be
expected with year-old or two-year-old plants. Auriculas grow 6-8 in.
high. Colors white and many shades of red and blue.
AZALEAS are excellent outdoor and greenhouse shrubs, and are
sometimes seen in windows. They are less grown in this country than in
Europe, largely because of our hot, dry summers and severe winters.
There are two common types or classes of azaleas: the hardy or Ghent
azaleas, and the Indian azaleas. The latter are the familiar
large-flowered azaleas of conservatories and window-gardens.
Ghent azaleas thrive in the open along the seacoast as far north as
southern New England. They require a sandy peaty soil, but are treated
as other shrubs are. The large flower-buds are liable to injury from the
warm suns of late winter and early spring, and to avoid this injury the
plants are often protected by covers or shades of brush. In the interior
country, little attempt is made to flower azaleas permanently in the
open, although they may be grown if carefully tended and well protected.
Both Ghent and Indian azaleas are excellent pot-plants for bloom in late
winter and spring. The plants are imported in great numbers from Europe
in fall, and it is better to buy these plants than to attempt to
propagate them. Pot them up in large-sized pots, keep them cool and
backward for a time until they are established, then take them into a
conservatory temperature in which carnations and roses thrive. They
should be potted in a soil of half peat or well-decayed mold and half
rich loam; add a little sand. Pot firmly, and be sure to provide
sufficient drainage. Keep off red spider by syringing.
After blooming, the plants may be thinned by pruning out the straggling
growths, and repotted. Set them in a frame or in a semi-shaded place
during summer, and see that they make a good growth. The wood should be
well ripened in the fall. After cold weather sets in, keep the Indian or
evergreen kinds half dormant by setting them in a cool, dull-lighted
cellar or pit, bringing them in when wanted for bloom. The Ghent or
deciduous kinds may be touched with frost without injury; and they may
be kept in a cellar until wanted.
BEGONIAS are familiar tender bedding and house plants. Next to the
geranium, begonias are probably the most popular for house culture of
the entire plant list. The ease of culture, great variety of kinds,
profusion of bloom or richness of foliage, together with their
adaptability to shade, make them very desirable.
Begonias may be divided into three sections: the fibrous-rooted class,
which contains the winter-flowering, branching kinds; the rex forms, or
beefsteak geraniums, having large ornamental leaves; the
tuberous-rooted, those that bloom through the summer, the tuber resting
in the winter.
_The fibrous-rooted kinds_ may be propagated by seed or cuttings, the
latter being the usual method. Cuttings of half-ripened wood root
easily, making a rapid growth, the plants flowering in a few months.
_The rex type,_ having no branches, is propagated from the leaves. The
large mature leaves are used. The leaf may be cut into sections, having
at the base a union of two ribs. These pieces of leaves may be inserted
in the sand as any other cutting. Or a whole leaf may be used, cutting
through the ribs at intervals and laying the leaf flat on the
propagating bench or other warm, moist place. In a short time young
plants having roots of their own will form. These may be potted when
large enough to handle, and will soon make good plants (Fig 125).
Rex begonias usually grow little during winter, and they should
therefore be kept fairly dry and no effort made to push them. Be sure
that the pots are well drained, so that the soil does not become sour.
New plants--those a year or so old--are usually most satisfactory. Keep
them away from direct sunlight. An insidious disease of rex begonia
leaves has recently made its appearance. The best treatment yet known is
to propagate fresh plants, throwing away the old stock and the dirt in
which it is grown.
_The tuberous-rooted begonias_ make excellent bedding plants for those
who learn their simple but imperative requirements. They are also good
pot subjects for summer.
The amateur would better not attempt to grow the tuberous begonias from
seed. He should purchase good two-year tubers. These should be able to
run for two or three years before they are so old or so much spent that
they give unsatisfactory results.
In the North, the tubers are started indoors, for bedding, in February
or early March in a rather warm temperature. They will fill a five-inch
pot before they are ready to be turned out into the ground. They should
not be planted out till the weather is thoroughly settled, for they will
not stand frost or unfavorable climatic conditions.
The plants should be given a soil that holds moisture, but is yet well
drained. They will not do well in water-logged ground. They should have
partial shade; near the north side of a building is a good place for
them. Too much watering makes them soft and they tend to break down.
Keep the foliage dry, particularly in sunny weather; the watering should
be done from underneath.
After blooming, lift the bulbs, dry them off, and keep over winter in a
cool place. They may be packed in shallow boxes in dry earth or sand.
Florists sometimes divide the tubers just after growth starts in the
spring, so that a good eye may be got with each plant; but the amateur
would better use the entire tuber, unless he desires to increase or
multiply some particular plant.
If the house gardener desires to raise tuberous begonias from seed, he
must be prepared to exercise much patience. The seeds, like those of all
begonias, are very small, and should be sown with great care. Start the
seeds in late winter. Simply sprinkle them on the surface of the soil,
which should be a mixture of leafmold and sand, with the addition of a
small quantity of fibrous loam. Watering should be done by setting the
pot or box in which the seeds are sown in water, allowing the moisture
to ascend through the soil. When the soil has become completely
saturated, set the box in a shady situation, covering it with glass or
some other object until the tiny seedlings appear. Never allow the soil
to become dry. The seedlings should be transplanted, as soon as they can
be handled, into boxes or pots containing the same mixture of soil,
setting each plant down to the seed-leaf. They will need three or four
transplantings before they reach the blooming stage, and at each one
after the first, the proportion of fibrous loam may be increased until
the soil is composed of one-third each of loam, sand, and leafmold. The
addition of a little well-rotted manure may be made at the last
CACTUS.--Various kinds of cactus are often seen in small
collections of house plants, to which they add interest and oddity,
being different from other plants.
Most cacti are easy to grow, requiring little care and enduring the heat
and dryness of a living room much better than most other plants. Their
requirements are ample drainage and open soil. Cactus growers usually
make a soil by mixing pulverized plaster or lime refuse with garden
loam, using about two-thirds of the loam. The very fine parts, or dust,
of the plaster, are blown out, else the soil is likely to cement. They
may be rested at any season by simply setting them away in a dry place
for two or three months, and bringing them into heat and light when they
are wanted. As new growth advances they should have water occasionally,
and when in bloom, they should be watered freely. Withhold water
gradually after blooming until they are to be rested.
Some of the most common species in cultivation are the phyllocactus
species, often called the night-blooming cereus. These are not the true
night-blooming cereuses, which have angular or cylindrical stems,
covered with bristles, while these have flat, leaf-like branches; the
flowers of these, however, are very much like the cereus, opening at
evening and closing before morning, and as the phyllocacti may be grown
with greater ease, blooming on smaller and younger plants, they are to
The true night-blooming cereuses are species of the genus Cereus. The
commonest one is _C. nycticalus,_ but _C. grandiflorus, C. triangularis_
and others are occasionally seen. These plants all have long rod-like
stems which are cylindrical or angular. These stems often reach a height
of 10 to 30 ft., and they need support. They should be trained along a
pillar or tied to a stake. They are uninteresting leafless things during
a large part of the year; but in midsummer, after they are three or more
years old, they throw out their great tubular flowers, which open at
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