Perennial Larkspurs, too, should now be finally transplanted. These are hardy and long-lived plants, growing from four to six feet in height, often higher. Plant six or eight together, about two feet apart. When the Larkspurs are finally cut down, a small quantity of fine coal ashes should be sifted over the tops of the plants, enough to cover the crown about half an inch.
Autumn planting should be done sufficiently early for the plants to become well rooted before the ground freezes, and a good covering of leaves or litter must then be given them late in the fall.
Japanese Anemones, tender Roses, Mont Brutus, Tritomas, and Altheas are among the few plants that should be set out in the Spring, that they may be thoroughly established before the Winter, But with the great majority of hardy flowers early Autumn is the best time to plant. The result in the following year will be better than if the plants are disturbed in the Springtime when growth is beginning.
If Lilies and spring-flowering bulbs are to be planted, they should be ordered early in September for October delivery. Lily bulbs are generally delivered about the 20th of October, with the exception of Lilium candidum (the well-known Madonna Lily), which makes an Autumn growth and should be planted not later than the 10th of September. Lilium candidum requires full sun. It should be left undisturbed for four or five years, when the clumps may be separated and replanted. L. speciosum rubrum should be grown in partial shade. Other Lilies will grow in the sun.
Auratum Lilies do best if planted a foot deep and about eight inches apart, and are most effective when growing in masses. Other lilies should be planted from six to eight inches deep and the same distance apart. When planting Lilies have a box of sand and set each bulb in a handful of this, for it is important that no manure should be allowed to come in contact with the Lily bulb, as it causes decay.
No garden, however tiny, should be without a few of the spring-flowering bulbs. They are not expensive. Indeed, in reading the catalogues one is surprised to find how many can be had for a small sum. No special place need be prepared for them; they can be planted anywhere among the other plants. Single and double Tulips, Daffodils, Emperor and Von Sion Narcissus, Narcissus poeticus, and single and double Hyacinths, Lily-of-the-Valley, and the gay little Crocuses and delicate Snowdrops, once grown, will become the dearest friends. The middle of October is a good time to plant them.
Pale violet Japanese Iris, veined with purple July third.
When the annuals have been killed by frost, the plants must all be pulled up, taken away to some spot far from trees or buildings and burned. It is a bad practice to put these dead plants on the compost heap to be returned to the garden later as fertilizer. For if the plants have been attacked by any insects, their eggs may, and usually do, survive the winter cold, and another year the worm or insect coming from them will work serious harm to the young plants. The same is true of vegetable parasites, such as rusts, and other fungi whose spores survive the winter.
If your garden possesses Phlox or large clumps of Iris, either German or Japanese, or Rudbeckias (Golden Glow), October is the time to divide their roots and set them out anew. Take, for instance, a large plant of Phlox, lift it from the ground with a spade and with the spade cut the root into pieces, leaving perhaps four or five stalks on each piece; cut off the tops and then plant each piece separately. In setting them out, loosen the earth of the bed well with the spade, make a hole larger than the roots will require, put a little manure into the hole and cover lightly with earth; then set the plant, pack the earth firmly around the roots and water thoroughly. This is a good rule to follow in all planting. Next Summer the heads of the blossoms will be larger than before and the plants will have renewed vigor.
It is absolutely necessary that Phloxes should be divided every three or four years to keep them in fine condition. In case one has a single large plant of a very fine quality, it is worth the trouble to take half of it, separate the roots so that but one stalk is left to each section, then plant these, as directed, somewhere in rows. In two years there will be a number of splendid plants.
The Rudbeckia (Golden Glow) is another perennial that can be divided almost indefinitely. If planted at the back of a border, alternating in clumps with Hollyhocks, it is very effective, but if not divided, certainly every other year, it will overrun the border.
Large plants of Paeonies may be separated, and if only a small portion of the root be taken it will not be noticed in the size of the parent plant the next year. But it is a very generous gardener who will divide her Paeony roots to give to a friend. It causes a severe wrench to your feelings to do this even for yourself, and is not to be recommended except in the case of some rare variety of which you wish to increase the number of plants. In late October the tops of the Paeony plants should be cut off, and fine old manure carefully stirred into the earth around them with a trowel. The Paeony starts so early in the Spring, that if fertilizing be left till that time, there is danger of breaking the tender shoots. But as a rule, top dressing of plants and shrubs with manure for the purpose of fertilizing should be deferred until Spring.
Horticulturists have found that one-half the quantity of fertilizer, when used in the Spring, produces twice the result as when used in the Fall. The Winter rain and snow may carry the enrichment below the roots, while in the Spring every particle goes directly to help the new life just starting.
Japanese Iris, while not increasing very rapidly, is benefited by separation when the clumps have become large. The roots of this plant are very long and the holes to receive them when replanted must be made sufficiently deep so that they are not doubled up. German Iris may be separated in the same way and is benefited by it. The roots of these two plants can be cut into pieces about the size of a man's fist and planted about a foot apart in clumps of six or eight together.
Lilium Longiflorum July tenth.
As soon as the tops of the Dahlias, Carinas, and Gladioli have been killed by the frost, their roots should be lifted, the tops cut off and the roots well dried. This is best done by placing them out-of-doors in a sunny place for three days, taking them in when the sun is low and putting them out about ten o'clock in the morning. When dried they may be stored until next Spring in baskets, boxes or barrels in a cool place in any cellar where they will not freeze. Dahlias increase tremendously. For instance, two dozen roots purchased one Spring increased in five Summers to six barrelfuls. Carinas also increase, in that the roots become so large that the following Spring they may be separated and there will be enough to plant nearly twice the space of the year before.
If the Tuberous-rooted Begonia is grown, it can be taken up and treated in the same way.
The last work of all in the garden, but not the least important, must be postponed until the end of November. This consists in giving the flower garden, in all localities where the Winters are severe, a covering of leaves and stable-litter. The plants will start earlier in the Spring and be better and stronger for this protection. They should not be covered, however, until the cold weather really sets in, and care must be taken to uncover the beds early, about the 25th of March.
Often during the frozen Winter the gardener's thoughts will dwell upon his sleeping plants, and when remembering the Lily bulbs placed in the earth in the Autumn he can but think how in the Spring they will rise into a new life, crowned with loveliest bloom.