[From the Greek for bladder and to cover, as the calyx becomes bladder-like when in fruit.]
A perennial with stems three feet high, bearing dense, onesided spikes of purplish flowers, in June and July. Indigenous at the "West and South. This was formerly called Dracocephalum Virginianum, and its varieties have been called D. dentatum and D. variegatum.
[From the Greek words for wide and anther.]
The plants included here were formerly regarded as belonging to the genus Orchis, from which they are distinguished by the spreading apart of their anther cells. They are still popularly called Orchis.
Most of the species are found in wet boggy ground, and will require a moist and rather shady spot. If the soil be made of peat and leaf mould, I know they will remain and flower for a couple of years, for I have been success. ful in the experiment. They are chiefly propagated by their tubers, which in most of the species are of a peculiar structure. An Orchis taken out of the ground is found with two solid masses at the base of the stem, above which proceed the thick fleshy fibres which nourish the plant. One of these bulbs or tubers is destined to be the successor of the other, and is plump and vigorous, whilst the other, or decaying one, is always wrinkled and withered. From this withered one has proceeded the existing stem, and the plump one is an offset, from the center of which the stem of the succeeding year will come. By this means, the actual situation is changed about half an inch every year; and as the offset is always produced from the side opposite the withered bulb, the plant travels always in one direction at that rate, and will in a dozen years have marched six inches from the place where it formerly stood.
In the garden the Orchis can hardly be said to be propagated; the species are generally taken up from their native habitations and transferred to a shady border, where they remain a year or two, but seldom increase. I have taken them up when in flower successfully, by removing the plant with a large ball of earth, so that these fleshy fibres are not disturbed.
Has snow white flowers, with a beautifully fringed lip, in short spikes. Stems about one foot high.
One of the largest and most beautiful, and sometimes called P. grandiflora. The spike is sometimes six inches long, with large pale-purple flowers. Stems about two feet high. June. P.psycodes is a species resembling this, but smaller and more common.
This resembles the White-fringed Orchis in shape, but the flowers are of a bright orange-yellow.
[From the Greek, meaning large bell.]
This species was formerly called Campanula grandiflora, but it is separated from Campanula on account of the manner in which the pod opens. It has also been called Wahlenbergia. It is a hardy perennial growing about one and one-half foot high, with smooth and serrate leaves. The stem bears one or a few very large shallow flowers. The buds are quite ornamental, being large and balloon-shaped. Blue, with, a white variety and often semi-double. Culture the same as that of Campanula.
[From a Greek word meaning war) of doubtful application.]
This is one of the old standard border-plants, with blue flowers. The common name of Jacob's Ladder is from its beautiful pin-nately-cleft leaves. It has lively blue flowers, nodding on the ends of the branches. There is a variety with white flowers. It is a perfectly hardy perennial, and of easy cultivation, flowering in June; one and one-half foot high. Propagated by seeds or division of the roots.
[From the Greek words for many and flower.]
A native of India, and very popular on account of its highly fragrant flowers. In the warmer parts of the European continent it thrives as well as in its native soil. In Italy, Sicily, and Spain, the roots thrive and propagate with ease when they are once planted. The Genoese cultivate it and Send the roots annually to England, Germany, Holland, and France, and from thence it comes to this country. These imported roots thrive much better than those raised here. This plant has long been cultivated in English gardens for its extraordinary beauty and fragrance.
The Malayans style the Tuberose the mistress of the night:-
"The Tuberose with her silver light,
That in the gardens of Malay
Is called the mistress of the night.
So like a bride, scented and bright, She comes oat when the sun's away." - Lalla Rookh.
"The variety with double flowers is the one generally in cultivation; the single variety is not so much esteemed. This double variety was obtained from the seed by Monsieur Le Cour, of Leyden, in Holland, who for many years was so tenacious of the roots, even after he had propagated them in such plenty as to have more than he could plant, that he caused them to be cut in pieces to have the vanity of boasting that he was the only person in Europe who possessed this flower." Luckily, that man died in due course of time, and as he could not carry them with him, they have since been disseminated among florists and amateurs throughout the world; but no thanks to that mean man. The roots are the best which are large and plump, provided they are sound and firm, and the fewer offsets they have the stronger they will flower. The under parts of the roots or bulbs should be particularly examined, because it is there they first begin to decay. The best compost for the Tuberose, is said to be "two wheelbarrows of light maiden loam, one ditto of decomposed hot-bed dung, and a little white sand should be well chopped and mixed together in autumn; this should be exposed to the frost during the winter, that it may become ameliorated and thoroughly decomposed. To have flowers in perfection in August or September, the bulbs should be potted and set to growing in March. The bulbs should be first prepared by taking off the loose rind and superfluous offsets, or side bulbs, being careful not to injure the principal one. Then provide a quantity of six-inch-pots, well drained with broken pot-sherds; they must be filled with the above compost and Well shaken down, but not pressed with 'the hands. A little white sand must be placed in the middle of the top of the compost and the bulb must be pressed gently though firmly, down to within a quarter of an inch of the top of the bulb. After the bulbs are potted, plunge them in a strong hot-bed where they must remain till they have grown to the height of three or four inches; they must be kept quite close till they begin to vegetate, when a little air may be admitted; shaded when the sun is powerful, and covered up with mats at night; water must be supplied very sparingly while they are here, for the steam arising from the bed answers in a great measure the purpose of water. When they have grown to the height above stated, take them into a warm spot in the green-house, allowing them a plentiful supply of air and water, setting them where they will get a plenty of light, or they will be apt to draw up weakly." In June, when the weather becomes quite warm, the plants may be turned out carefully into the open ground. As they advance in height, tie them up to green sticks, six or seven feet long. By the middle of August they will begin to show flowers. Por plants to flower in October, the bulbs may be planted in pots in May and carefully tended during the summer, but brought into the house before they are overtaken by frost. We had about fifty bulbs unsold the last season, which lay in the store until the 20th of August; they were then potted in a compost similar to that described, and although weakened by having been so long out of the ground, most of them blossomed and gave a succession of their exquisite fragrant flowers from the middle of November to Christmas.