All now is neat and cared for. Even rural cemeteries are now well kept. Before I leave the precincts of what should be a most pleasant and beautiful spot, and as far as care goes is, I must say that the abolishing of fences and the care and control of the whole grounds by the cemetery authorities, who treat all alike and study general appearance and not individual, is a vast improvement over these cemeteries where the lot owner pays some outside person for its care. It is the whole locality or section that should be pleasing and beautiful, not one lot scrupulously cared for and the next one neglected. The man or woman who would delight in their lot being mowed and clipped and decorated, and contented to see their neighbor's in weeds, would be narrow-minded indeed.
A Rustic Vase.
There are various ways of filling vases, but where there are thousands in one cemetery and perhaps as many as 200 or 300 on one section alone, there must be a good deal of sameness. Some few have one palm alone. Many are filled with one color of geraniums with or without any drooping plant for an edge. A few are filled with cannas or caladiums. Some contain a mass of one variety of coleus with a distinct edge, but more than half of the whole are filled with a variety of plants with some drooping plants to hang over the edge. If in a windy place the so-called vines, or droopers, have a hard time of it, and are little ornament.
Nearly every one wants his or her vase to look just perfection the day it is put out and expects it to continue to keep looking so till October, the unreasonableness of which we have to strive with and do our best to please. Watering is not the only thing a vase wants in summer. Much can be done and must be done by keeping off withered flowers, yellow leaves and pinching out the stronger growing plants, of which the coleus is the worst to crowd out the rest. Cleaning the vases, as we call it, should be attended to at least once a week.
In palms or that style of plant, a Chamaerops humilis, any of the phoenix or Dracaena indivisa can be used in the broad sun. It is impossible to give water enough to keep the latanias or kentias from burning, but if in the shade of trees then any of the handsome palms can be used. Any of the foliage plants, such as coleus, achyranthes or acalypha, have a good appearance if nicely pinched and in order.
It is undeniable that the geranium is unequaled as a vase plant if flower and color are wanted, but it should be in the full sun. The varieties should be not only good bloomers but strong, vigorous kinds that will keep their foliage as well as flower. The single kinds, for this purpose, are of little use. Of those we have tried for the purpose the best are Prokop Daubeck, a very robust, large, double red; there is hardly a variety as good; Ernest Lauth, fine for the purpose; Al-phonse Ricard, orange scarlet; S. A. Nutt, crimson; Tower Eiffel, bright scarlet; Emile de Gerardin, pink, but now superseded by F. Perkins, a pink unequaled; Beaute Poitevine, salmon; La Favorite, double white. The silver-leaved Mountain of Snow is most useful as an edge, and so is the compact Mme. Sal-leroi. Sometimes the geranium vases have only one of the variegated geraniums for an edging, and sometimes some drooper, but when the latter only one kind should be used. Vinca, glechoma or the ivy geranium are very suitable. A favorite vase with hundreds is of pink geraniums with the pink ivy leaf for an edging.
The mixed vases are in the majority and are the least profitable to the florist and the least satisfactory. In the center we use a small phoenix or a dwarf canna, but nearly all ask and expect us to use a Dracaena indivisa. This wonderfully useful plant not only thrives under the worst kind of treatment, but actually improves every day till fall, and near the end of summer is the redeeming feature of many a vase. When using mixed plants there is quite a variety. Dwarf flowering cannas; Grevillea robusta, which gives a light, feathery effect; all the geraniums mentioned; coleus, in great variety; three kinds of achyranthes, Begonia Vernon, and some other flowering kinds; Abutilon Souv. de Bonn (and we think Savitzii will be a great addition to our vase plants), anthericum, Centaurea gymnocarpa, aspidistra; fuchsias, but these should only be used in partial shade, and Black Prince and old speciosa are the best two for the purpose; variegated euonymus; and perhaps a few more can be added to the list. The coarse monster Caladium esculentum should not be used with other plants, for it entirely exhausts the soil.
For droopers we have a variety to choose from. The weaker kinds get crushed out, but look pretty for the first month. We use first the variegated and green trailing vincas. We consider this the most important of all our vase droopers. Several varieties of the ivy geranium, English ivy, gramanthea (a small creeping succulent), glechoma (variegated), the so-called German ivy (senecio), lysimachia, double sweet alyssum, lobelia, nasturtium, Abutilon vexillarium, lopospermum, Solanum jasminoides, Pilo-gyne suavis, nierembergia, petunias, Kenilworth ivy, etc.
The prettiest vase in our cemetery this entire summer is a vase of tuberous-rooted begonias. It is grand, but it is in the shade of trees. Where this is the case it makes a splendid plant. Asparagus Sprengeri seed is yet a little expensive; when as cheap as smilax seed we believe this asparagus will be one of our finest drooping vase plants, and particularly for our veranda-boxes. In a warmer section of the country the crotons make splendid vase plants. Do not put in plants that are showy, but that you know will quickly go out of flower and flower no more that season; use such plants as our show pelargoniums and pyrethrums.
As the soil you use is to support as many plants in a 2-foot vase as would properly fill a 6-foot flower bed, you must use the richest. In addition to one-third of rotten manure added to your loam, add a 6-inch pot of bone flour to every barrow-load. Keep the plants pretty well up on the surface, but see that the soil is firmly packed around every plant. We find workmen very guilty of neglecting that part of it, and we find when 300 or perhaps 400 vases have been filled in a week that there has to be some system about it.
First a list is given the boss of the gang, of the names of the owners, which reads like this: " Mrs. Particular, one iron vase. Fill good mixed, only light colored geraniums." Or "Mrs. Usual, one iron vase. All pink geraniums and pink ivy leaf." And every vase has the name of the owner attached. With a man to place the plants in, another to fill in solid, another to moss and water and another to keep the supply of plants on hand, a great many vases can be filled in a day.
I had almost forgotten the important item of moss. We cover the surface of the soil, or at least four inches all around from the edge, with green wood moss. We used to load up wagons and drive to the cemetery with plants and soil, but find a much better plan is to bring home the top or bowl of the vase, fill it and return it the same or next day. People ask you to get their vase started in the greenhouse. We should need a circus tent to hold them all, and they are none the better for getting the tender growth of the greenhouse. Fill them up and away with them.
Continuous Top Ventilation With Alternating Side Sashes.
Ventilation Sashes Alternating on the Two Sides of the Ridge.
Decoration day, or about that time, is the only time of the year that we are truly miserable, but with all the hurry and vexation, we survive, or have, up to date.