From the middle of June until the third week of July, Penstemon barbatus Torreyi, which has a small flower of vivid scarlet growing on tall, slender spikes that in their second year have reached six feet in height, makes a brilliant patch of color in a border and attracts much attention.
Penstemon Digitalis has heads of white flowers fully nine inches long, is a plant which blooms all through July, is hardy, increases rapidly, and is most effective.
Another hardy white flower, about as large as a twenty-five cent piece, with a pale pink center, which grows on long stems, is Agro8tema alba. The plant is about three feet in height, and has somewhat sparse gray-green foliage. New flower-buds form continually in the axils of the leaves; if the flowers are cut as soon as withered the plant seems to bloom indefinitely, and is valuable for this reason. I have amused myself during this Summer by cutting the faded flowers from a clump of these plants and from one of Centaurea, with the result that they have continued to bloom profusely from June until the middle of September.
Every gardener knows the value of not allowing the seed pods to form and weary the plant by taking the strength that otherwise would go to new root-formation. In fact, every plant that blossoms is benefited by cutting, which enables it to produce flowers in greater abundance, and to make larger root growth.
Dictamus fraxinella, both the white and pink, with particularly beautiful glossy foliage, are valuable plants. Absolutely hardy, the roots increase rapidly, and may be separated from time to time. The flowers blos-som the end of May and are borne on strong stems in panicles about eight inches long.
The new varieties of hardy Carnations, such as the Margaret and the Perpetual, produce most creditable flowers, not so large, certainly, as the many beauties that the florist's art brings forth, like "Mrs. Lawson" and "Fiancee," but quite fine enough in form and color to satisfy the grower of hardy plants. Sow the seeds in early May, in finely pulverized, rich soft, with which a little bone meal has been incorporated, and about the first of September transplant them to the places where they are to remain. The seeds are very sure to germinate, and an ounce will raise a large number of plants. I keep mine in long rows so that a cultivator may be run between them. The plants can be set out about eight inches apart, and should be tied to stakes, as the stems grow very long. If carnations are well watered from the moment the first sign of a bud appears, they will not only be more prolific in bearing, but the flowers will be larger, just as the Japanese Iris repays a thorough drenching several times a week. After three years it is a good plan to raise fresh Carnations, as the flowers become small and the blossoms scarce. Cover the plants with some leaves or litter in November, when the rest of the garden is put to sleep.
Perennial Lupins, both blue and white, blossom freely in early June, growing from two to three feet in height, and are hardy and effective. It is a good plan to soak the Lupin seed for twenty-four hours before sowing, which should be done in mid-April.
Vase of Giant White Puppies.
Liatris, a plant growing about five feet in height, bears immense spikes of light purple flowers and continues in bloom throughout August.
Veronica longifolia blossoms during August and is one of the handsomest blue flowers in the garden, in fact, after the Larkspurs, probably the handsomest. The plant is perfectly hardy and increases rapidly. Like the Phlox, every shoot bears a spike of fine blossoms nearly a foot in length; these are of a beautiful blue color. The common name of the flower is "Speedwell," and I never see it without thinking of Austin Dobson's poem, "Sing Blue of Speedwell and my love's eyes."
Another blue flower that is but little grown, is Greek Valerian, a plant about a foot high, which is so completely covered about the end of May with delicate blue flowers as to be like a bit of sky fallen into the border. I have but one plant, sent me from her garden by a friend whom I have never seen.
Another lady whom I have not the pleasure of knowing, very kindly sent me some seeds a year ago. The name and the description of the flowers which the seeds should produce were lost, but the seeds were sown in May, came up quickly and during the summer, grew to be large strong plants. Set out in beds in the Autumn, they came unharmed through the severe Winter and in the Spring grew to be four feet high with strong, wide-spreading branches. They were rather a disappointment, for the flowers seemed to be only faded, yellow morning glories. But the first evening late in May, when the weather was warm enough to entice us into the garden after dinner, there stood the great plants covered with a mass of flowers of delicate texture, larger than the largest Japanese Morning Glory, and of a pale yellow color. They bloomed continuously for over two months, and were nightly objects of comment and admiration by all who saw them. They were the Oenothera lamarchiana or Evening Primrose, and I am told it is unusual for the plants to grow so large. They appear to best advantage when planted in front of low growing evergreens, whose impenetrable foliage gives them an effective background.
A clump of Veronica Longifolis August tenth.
By the third year the Platycodons become large, strong plants, quite three feet high, each bearing possibly a hundred blossoms. When planted in clumps of three or four together they are very effective. Their period of bloom lasts from the middle of July for a month or more, the blossoms appearing when the Larkspurs are first cut down and continuing well into the reign of the Veronica longifolia.
Boltonias are also effective plants for the edges of shrubberies. They grow from four to six feet in height, and from the middle of August to the middle of September are a mass of blossoms which are quite like the small wild Asters. The white variety is Boltonia glastifolia, and the pale pink, Bol-tonia latisquama.
Besides the Boltonias, the following hardy plants flourish and look well on the edges of shrubberies: Boconia cordata; Hollyhocks; Jerusalem Artichoke, which grows eight feet tall and bears single yellow flowers late in September and through October; Marsh-mallow (Hibiscus moscheutos); Japanese Tree Paeonies; Columbines; Trilliums; Oriental Poppies, and hardy Sunflowers. Various clumps of these plants will give successive bloom and color in front of the shrubbery from May until November.
Several years ago, when planting a new garden I decided to have the flowers in each border of one color only. A friend to whom I confided the scheme said it would not be successful; that when the blue border was in its prime, the pink one would be without flowers, in fact, that the four borders would never be equally handsome or all in such a condition at the same time, that their color would at once strike the eye. But this has proved to be a mistake. The borders are always full of color from the end of May until everything is killed by the frost.
At the back of each of the borders Hollyhocks were planted closely together, white in the white border, pink and red in the borders for those colors, and, as I know of no blue Hollyhocks, pale yellow ones were put at the back of the blue border. Other plants were set in clumps of four to six, with four or more clumps of each kind. Summer flowering bulbs and annuals were then planted about the first of June in all the crevices to help out late August and September.
In the blue border were blue Columbines; the one plant of Greek Valerian, which was blue for a month; then there were German and Japanese Iris, Larkspur in many shades of blue, each of which gave three crops of flowers by cutting each stalk as soon as it ceased to bloom; blue Canterbury Bells (Campanula glomerata and Campanula ma-crantha); Scabiosa Caucasia; Platycodon; Veronica, and Monkshood. Still another hardy plant with blue flowers was Verbena venom, which will either grow about eighteen inches high or can be pegged down and will during three or four months cover the ground with its heads of blue flowers. As annuals, I planted Ageratum, which had been raised from seeds sown in hot-beds the first of March; pale blue Centauria, Emperor William Centauria, and blue Asters.
The pink border had Spiraea palmata elegans; a number of clumps of pink Phlox, each clump of a different shade; Lilium rubrum; Agrostema; Carnations; and for annuals, pale pink Balsam; Asters; Phlox Drummondi; and a quantity of pink Gladioli, which were planted about the 10th of June.
The white border had three clumps of Boconia cor data; a quantity of Foxgloves, planted in the back close against the Hollyhocks; white Canterbury Bells; several clumps of Hyacinthus candicans; white Platycodons; four great clumps of Japanese Iris, which are beautiful objects for a month; white Phlox of both early and late varieties. As the flowers in these borders are kept only for show, by breaking off the heads of the Phlox immediately upon their ceasing to bloom, the Phlox seems always to be in blossom. There were also white Rockets; a quantity of Valerian; white Columbine, and a number of Lilium album. White Balsam, Asters, Sweet Sultan, and Gladioli were also planted.
The red border was more difficult to arrange because of the many shades of red; but in nature these do not seem to clash as so often do the different shades of the same artificial color. There were scarlet Lychnis and also Cardinal flowers, which seemed to flourish there as well as in their native haunt by the stream; the red Penstemon; Spirae palmata; Tritoma Pfitzerii, which begins to bloom in July and continues until the frost lays it low; Phlox of the variety Cocliquot, which is a mass of scarlet. Some Poppy seeds thrown in here and there in early Spring gave many gorgeous blossoms in July, coming up at random among the other plants. Several clumps of Salvias and some bright red Carinas gave continuous bloom, and red Asters, Cockscomb, and scarlet Gladioli helped to make brilliant color for the September garden.
These borders are, each of them, four feet wide and seventy-five feet long and hold many plants.
It will be noticed that no yellow and no purple flowers were admitted to any of these borders. In another garden it will be interesting to arrange these colors in the same way. But so many flowers are excluded by this treatment of colors, that borders thus planted would be a very incomplete garden by themselves.
Boconia Cordate July seventeenth.
It is also interesting to watch the different color phases of the garden and to see how certain colors predominate at certain times. For instance, at the end of May and for shout three weeks pink, white, and deep reds dominate all the other colors in our gardens. There are in blossom at that time Syringas, Spirae Von Houttei, hardy Poppies, Paeonies, Foxgloves, Sweet William, and the hardy Roses; - each of these flowers in large quantities.
As these gradually pass, we become aware that blue and white flowers are prevailing; there are Canterbury Bells, Foxgloves, Japanese Iris, Centauria, and the great.