As a background to these, young specimens of the earliest catkin-bearing trees will look well, also shrubs which flower in January and February. The winter-sweet and Japanese quince should be among the latter, especially if there is a north corner to the border. Daphne megereum must certainly be planted, and a place made at intervals for specimens of the golden-belled Foreythia suspensa, sometimes mistaken for winter jasmine. Catkins should be represented by the witch hazel and Garrya eliptica, and berried shrubs should also be in evidence.
In succession to the earliest bulbs, etc., will come the anemones and ranunculi, also auriculas, and then big masses of wallflowers and May-flowering tulips can be introduced here and there, in a setting of forget-me-nots, double arabis, London pride, and other early saxifrages.
Another April-flowering plant which never fails to succeed is Senecio doronicum (the leopard's bane); this looks well in the neighbourhood of blue and white lupins. The scarletgeum will also begin to show its flowers, and all these plants should be in their full beauty when May arrives. When primroses and polyanthuses have finished flowering, these should be divided, and annuals sown, in their stead.
Paconies, crimson, pink, and white, will now be making a glorious show in favourable situations, and the same may be said of Oriental poppies, when once these beautiful subjects have become established.
Plants for a Succession
The stately cremurus, campanulas, the mountain knapweed (centaurea montana), corydalis, thalictrifolia, and tree lupins will now begin to make a show; and if autumn-sown annuals are a possibility, these fill in well if sown in bold masses between the other plants. Sweet-peas will, of course, occur to the mind in this connection.
From this period onward the true summer flowers will be in their prime, and a selection can therefore be made from the portion of the article dealing with the main flower-border for July, August, and September.
When September is past, Michaelmas daisies, chrysanthemums, Japanese anemones, late-flowering phloxes, and golden rod will continue the display; second batches of annuals will go on well into November if the weather is mild. Red-hot pokers will also show up well. A really important feature of the garden in autumn will be its dahlias, both cactus and pompone, fancy and show varieties, and a minor, but no less beautiful, trait can be introduced by planting lilium speciosum, which will continue blooming well over October in mild situations.
Since the recent improvement in snapdragons (antirrhinums), no garden should be without these charming biennials, which can either be raised from seed in a greenhouse early in the year, or struck from cuttings the previous autumn. The extreme beauty of their colours makes them especially suitable for introduction, in broad bands and masses, into the herbaceous border. Among noteworthy varieties should be antirrhinum Crimson King, Fire King, Lemon Queen, Golden Chamois, Cottage Maid; these are tall varieties which can be varied with intermediate and Tom Thumb sorts, notably Intermediate Apricot and Tom Thumb White.
When planting is to be done in the herbaceous border, groups of plants will be taken from a reserve bed in which they should be heeled in - i.e., their roots covered with soil - the ground divided according to the plan, and the principal groups of plants be spaced out first. Exposure of roots, however, for any length of time must be avoided, especially during cold March winds.
Taking as an example of planting a group of phloxes, these may be placed three or more in triangular fashion, in a space varying, according to their size, from three to five feet long and the same in width. Take a spade and make holes considerably larger than the plants to be put in them, shovelling the soil out all round, and not all in one heap. Now place the plant in the hole, and fill in all round with soil. If the plant has no ball of soil to speak of, or if roots protrude from the ball, spread these out carefully and gently with the fingers, and work the finest soil well among them.
In the case of large plants, tread the soil gently down, being extremely careful not to injure roots, then fill in further, and finish off in the same way, leaving a little untrodden soil at the top. In the case of smaller plants, the trowel should be used, reversing the end for making the plants firm in their places.
If weather makes it necessary, give a good watering at the time of putting in plants, but planting in spring or autumn need not, as a rule, be accompanied by this. If planting has to be done in very dry weather, which will, of course, be avoided if possible - but which is usually inevitable where summer bedding plants have to be introduced - the method of "flooding in" the plants should be practised. The planter keeps a water-can by her side, and fills each hole as it is made, thus allowing the roots a cool and moist condition in which to begin to settle.
It may sometimes be found good to sprinkle the clippings from the lawn around and between plants on the herbaceous border, especially where fresh subjects have been planted out, and require protection from extreme heat.
When once spring weather has seen the end of dangerous frosts, any protection in the shape of straw or bracken, etc., which it has been found necessary to lay over delicate plants may be removed, and the ground should be forked over. A dressing of nitrate of soda or superphosphate of lime is an advantage at this time, and should be spread on the ground at the rate of half a pound to the square yard, and just pricked in lightly.
A corner of the herbaceous border. Such a border should begin with low-toned colouring, and, increasing in strength of colour, revert to delicate tones again through a repetition of the scheme Copyright, Ware & Sons, Feltham