THERE are but few hardy biennials.
The important ones, which no garden should be without, are: Digitalis (Foxgloves) and Campanula medium, (Canterbury Bells.)
Foxgloves and Canterbury Bells bloom in June and July for more than a month, and give a touch of glory to any garden.
Catalogues and many gardening books say that the seeds should be sown in early autumn, and the plants will bloom the following year. It is true that they will bloom when sown in the autumn, but unless kept over the winter in a cold-frame the plants will send up stalks, only about a foot in height.
Sow the seeds of Foxgloves and Canterbury Bells in the shady part of the seedbed in early April. Keep the young plants moist. About the fifteenth of July, if there are a large number of plants and there be no other place, they should be transplanted to the vegetable garden, where they can follow early crops of peas or lettuce. Have the ground spaded finely, and make shallow trenches, perhaps six inches deep, in which put a good layer of manure and cover this with earth, then set the plants about six inches apart. Keep them well watered when the weather is dry, and the earth thoroughly stirred. By the twentieth of September or the first of October they should be transplanted to the places where they are to bloom the following year. The plants should then be a foot across, and next June will send up several stalks about three feet high. The Canterbury Bells should be six inches across in the fall, and the next year about two feet high.
Foxgloves seed themselves with great abundance, unless the stalk is cut before the seed ripens. In the spring I have the little plants, seeded in this way from the year before, taken from the borders and transplanted in rows, and find they are larger and stronger than any others.
A single plant of Foxgloves; White Sweet William in front.
Foxgloves, white, spotted and pale lilac, are the pride of the garden. Plant them back of the Sweet Williams, in clumps of six or eight, or else with Peonies. They blossom at the same time, and the pinks or reds of Sweet Williams or Peonies, with here and there a mass of white, and the tall, graceful spikes of the Foxgloves rising above them, produce so beautiful an effect that you will simply have to go and look at them many times a day.