The lovely Candidum, too, has no place in this garden. It does not like our soil or my treatment, and after buying hundreds with scant success I have abandoned their culture.
The German Iris began to bloom on May 20th and continued for three weeks. The Florentine and Siberian Iris both began to blossom on May 25th and shortly after these came the English Mont Blanc. By June 10th the Spanish Iris unfolded its first blossom, dark brown with a tinge of purple and a dull gold heart, and one day the third week in June the first Japanese Iris, white with a golden ray through the center, appeared to bid me good morning as I walked through the garden; I cut the last of these Japanese Iris the 3rd of August.
The fragrant yellow Day Lily, Hemero-callis florham, was the first Lily to open its petals in the new garden, about the 25th of May, and bloomed freely for about two weeks. Next to begin blooming after the stranger from Brazil were the lilies Krameri and Rubellum, which appeared about June 15th. They are quite alike in form, foliage and color; the latter a soft pink, like the lining of the conch shells we have seen on mantles in farm houses, treasured reminders of the distant sea. Next came the Aura-tums, on July 4th, surprisingly early, for elsewhere on the place they did not appear before July 20th. This, however, gave us the Auratums for nearly two months, as the last one was cut about September 1st.
Spanish Iris June eleventh.
At the same time Canadense, a native Lily, began to flower and was disappointing, as it bore less freely than those growing wild in the meadows of the farm. The wild ones, however, grew on ground that could more strictly be called wet rather than damp. The Canadense has two varieties, flavum yellow and rubrum red. Each bulb bore from three to five lilies.
While the Auratums in the lily garden were in their prime, the Longiflorums unfolded their white trumpets and were beautiful for three weeks, and before these passed away the Lily Brownii appeared, growing on stems about three feet in height, with one or two trumpet-shaped flowers, in form like the Longiflorum. These lilies are white on the inside, the outside shaded with brown and purple.
They were followed the third week in July by the Chalcedonicum (the scarlet Turk's Cap), a lily of the Martagon type. These lilies grow in a small cluster at the top of stems about four feet high. They are not large, only three inches across. At the same time the Japanese Lily, Wallacei, began to flower. It is apricot in color, spotted with brown and very large, and has generally but two lilies on a stalk; the stalks are not over three feet in height.
The Lily Batemanni bloomed first on July 25th; it has flowers of a warm shade of apricot without spots, growing generally in groups of three blossoms, on stems about four feet tall.
Lilium Leichtlinii, a Japanese Lily, also bloomed during the first ten days of August. I found it very beautiful and delicate, of a pale yellow color, with purple markings on the inside. The stems seemed frail, and although one or two bore two lilies, there was generally but one on a stalk, and I fear that this Lily will not bear another year.
Superbums bloomed all through August, and the petals of the last one fell the very end of September. The stalks are about five feet in height and each stalk bears certainly twenty lilies. I am told that this variety, when well established, increases in quantity of bloom until there are often thirty flowers and the stalks eight feet high. The flowers are crimson-orange and remind one of the Tiger Lily.
The middle of August, while the stately Auratums still lingered in the Lily garden, the lilies Rubrum, and Melpomene which is quite like Rubrum but more brilliant in color, and the beautiful wax-like Lilium album appeared; and, of these, the ones protected from the frost did not cease blooming until the second week in October.
One other Lily, Gigantium, said to grow six feet high, was planted, but not in the garden. It required "a cool woodland," according to Miss Jekyll, so a corner was found under tall trees where Rhododendrons formed a background; a large place was dug out and filled with specially prepared soil, and, • with a petition to the goddess Flora, the bulb was carefully planted, only one, because they are expensive - three dollars apiece - and this was an experiment. Three weeks, a month, five weeks, went by and no sign from the bulb. Impatience could no longer be restrained, and with care it was dug up. Alas! the bulb was nearly gone. The soil or climate or something was unpropitious, and thus I was unable to have the handsomest of all the lilies.
A clump of white Japanese Iris July third.
By the first of June every inch of space in the beds was filled with Asters, Gladioli or tuberous-rooted Begonias. Each bed had one of these varieties of flowers.
These Begonias, which are a most beautiful flower of waxy texture, quite four inches across, were started in hot-beds the first of March, began to blossom in early July and continued until killed by hard frost. The bulbs may also be planted in the open ground in May as soon as danger from frost is over. Plant with the hollow end of the bulb up, and cover with two inches of earth; they will begin to blossom early in August. Both the foliage and the flowers are beautiful, and they are so easy of cultivation, that no one will regret having them. They prefer a partial shade, but when given a mulch they do perfectly in full sun. The white are the handsomest; afterwards the pink and scarlet.
In the Autumn the bulbs should be taken up, after the foliage has been destroyed by the frost, carefully dried and stored through the Winter. It is a frequent practice to pack the bulbs in boxes of dry sand, the bulbs not touching each other, and then to store the boxes in some suitable place, but for the last two Winters I have kept them in baskets in an ordinary cellar, side by side with similar baskets of Gladioli, Dahlias, and Carinas, and they have been in perfect condition in the Spring.
The Begonias began to flower early in July, the Asters and Gladioli the middle of August, and all continued to bloom until the frost came.
Other than Lilies and Iris, this one annual and the two summer-flowering bulbs were all that were admitted to this garden. To observe the Iris and Lilies as they came into bloom was most interesting, but of the many varieties of Lilies there are, after all, but few that are entirely satisfactory, and fewer still that can be counted on to increase. Of the latter there are the Spe-ciosum album and Rubrum, which last thrives best in a partially shaded location, or if given a heavy mulch can be grown in the sun; Canadense, Superbum, the Tigers, Krameri, Rubellum, and the yellow Day Lily. Beautiful ones which we cannot do without and yet which disappear after more or less time, are the Auratums, Longiflor-ums, and Brownii.
The old-fashioned Funckias, called "Day Lilies" by our grandmothers, require too much space to be admitted to the Lily garden, but are grown in masses elsewhere, and I often wonder whether the clusters of slender white trumpets or the great yellow-green leaves are most beautiful. Funckias, like the Paeonies, should be undisturbed, and for the first two or three years not much should be expected of them; afterwards the number of blossoms will increase every year.
In the pool there were Nelumbium spe-cioaum, the pink Egyptian Lotus, a tender Water Lily. If the season is early they can be planted about May 15th. Fill a flower tub or butter tub, which must first be made perfectly tight, with equal parts of cow manure and garden loam which have been carefully mixed. Contrary to common opinion, it is the soil that nourishes aquatics, not water. Plant the Lily roots nearly at the top of the tub, covering only with about two inches of soil well pressed down. If a bulb or shoot has formed, be careful to allow it to project above the soil. Finally cover the earth with about two inches of sand, which prevents the soil in the tub from discoloring the water. If you have no pool or pond, the Nelumbium or the English Nymphaes or our native Pond Lilies can readily be grown in a kerosene barrel sawed in half and sunk in the ground to the rim, in some effective place where it will have full sun, generally in front of a shrubbery or with a background of low evergreens. Half fill this with soil, plant the Lily, not forgetting the sand, fill up with water and from time to time replenish the water to replace that which has evaporated.
Nelumbium Speciosum September twentieth.
Water Lilies are beautiful alike in flower and leaf. The delicate petals of the pink Nelumbium with its great golden calyx, the flower when extended being quite twelve inches across, and the velvety leaves often measuring twenty-two inches across, the first to appear resting on the water and later ones rising on straight stems two feet or more above it, make this plant an object of unusual beauty. Nothing can be more interesting than to watch its daily growth.
Every few feet around the pool, just back of the wall, English Ivy is planted, which as it grows is fastened down with hairpins, those most valuable implements of femininity, and will, it is hoped, in time surround the edge of the pool so that the water will accompaniment to the thoughts that flit through the mind even as the shadows flit across the hills, or the changing clouds are reflected in the water. At night when the tall white Lilies gleam through the darkness and the air is heavy with their perfume, and moon and stars are mirrored in the clear pool, it is the time and the place for "touches of sweet harmony," and when a pure voice is heard singing "and the night for love was given, Dearest, come to me," from Schubert's serenade, a final enchantment descends upon the spot.
When staying at Oxford and wandering through those grand old gardens it has been easy to understand, how their calm beauty and charm have inspired the thoughts of the men who have produced so much that is best in English literature and poetry. The shaded alley by the Cherwell, the great purple beeches, the shadows fleeting across the grass, the antiquity of the place and all that the great university has stood for in its centuries of existence, these surroundings and the life in the gardens must, if there is any poetry or spirit of imagination in him, stimulate the Oxford man to valuable literary work.
Vase of Lilium Longifiornm July tenth.