Every one knows the Coreopsis, which, by continual cutting, will give abundant bloom for three months. The variety with velvety maroon centers is particularly fine.
Hibiscus is very easy to raise, and should be planted among and along the edge of shrubbery. The plants are quite hardy, grow four feet high, and masses of them in pink or white are fine. They bloom in August and September.
Rockets, white and purple. These increase tremendously from self-sowing, so be careful or they will suffocate all that grows near them. I have many plants, all of which have come from a single one that a colored woman gave me a few years ago. She is a nice comfortable old "mammy," black as the ace of spades, with a great love for flowers and a nice patch of them. We have exchanged plants several times. Some of the nicest things I have in my garden came to me in this way, and it is great fun.
Whenever, in driving about, I see a particularly fine plant in a dooryard, I make friends with its owner, and later suggest that if she (it is usually "she") will give me a small root of this or that, I will bring her some plants or bulbs from my garden, of a kind which she has not. So we are both equally benefited. In this way I was once given a plant of Valerian, which has a tall, beautiful white flower with a most delicious odour like vanilla. It blooms for three weeks in late May and early June. From this one plant there are now in the garden a number of large clumps several feet in diameter, and I have given away certainly fifty roots. Valerian is a small white flower in good-sized clusters on long stems, seen now-a-days only in old-fashioned gardens. I am told it cannot be bought of horticulturists.
One must have Chrysanthemums, but where the thermometer falls below zero there are not many to be bought, other than the pompon varieties, that will blossom in the garden before being killed by frost, or that will survive the winter. Year after year I have bought dozens of the so-called "September-flowering Chrysanthemums," and have only succeeded in making them blossom by the middle of October, by planting them on the south side of a building, in richest soil, giving abundance of water, and covering on all cold nights. But I have beautiful plants of perfectly hardy, good-sized blossoms of yellow, white, pink and red, the roots of which have come from the gardens of my farmer friends. I have never been able to buy this old-fashioned hardy kind. In the spring, as soon as the plants begin to sprout, divide them, setting out three or four sprouts together. In this way the stock will increase wonderfully.
Chrysanthemums require very rich soil, must have sun, and do best against a building or a wall. About the first of July and the first of September have a couple of trowelfuls of manure carefully dug in about the roots of each plant. Buds should not be allowed to form until September, and the new shoots should be pinched back until then, to make the plants strong and bushy. 1 do not envy any one who has only the great, solemn, stiff flowers of the prize-show variety. An armful of the hardy garden ones, with their delicious odour, is worth a green-house full of the unnatural things which are the professional gardener's pride. When you can keep twenty or more vases filled from your own garden with these last blossoms of the year, in all their lovely colours, and not miss one of them from the plants, you will agree with me that they are the only kind to raise.
Perennials, sown in rows in the seed-bed in April, will be nice little plants by July, when they should be lifted and transplanted some six inches apart. The portion of the seed-bed where the annuals were raised can be used now for the purpose. This is particularly necessary for Larkspur, Columbines, Monkshood, Platycodon, Coreopsis, Hibiscus and Pinks. If, when transplanting, each plant is set with a trowelful of manure, the result will be plants twice as large by the first of October, when they can be again transplanted to their permanent places.
Oriental Poppies and Pinks should also be sown in the perennial seed-bed.
Oriental Poppies, with great blossoms as large as a tea plate borne on strong stems, make a grand show about the end of May and beginning of June.
Pinks, too, should be in every garden, if only for their delicious, spicy odor. The Chinensis, or China Pinks, are the best.
Sweet Williams and Oriental Poppies need not be moved from the time they are sown until finally transplanted in the autumn.
Yucca filamentosa, the hardy native of Mexico, sends up, about the tenth of July, great stalks six to eight feet high, bearing masses of white flowers. The individual blossoms are of creamy waxy texture and as difficult to make live, unless they have the sandy soil they love. In localities where the soil is of clay, it will he rather a struggle to get them well started. This done, however, they rarely die.
In planting evergreens, it is a good plan and well worth the trouble, to make a hole about three feet square and put in the bottom of this a good loam, to which a quantity of sand and very old manure has been added, then a layer of three or four inches of earth; plant the trees and fill in the hole with more earth of the same composition, watering well, and the tree is almost sure to live and make rapid growth. A little extra digging in making the hole to receive the tree, so that the roots have encouragement to put forth into good loose soil, will make the greatest difference in the growth of the tree.
Leaf-mould and old sods which have been finely chopped with the spade are the best fertilizers to use when planting ever beautiful as an orchid. A single stalk of Yucca, in a tall vase, will last nearly a week, and is as unusual as it is beautiful for house decoration. Yuccas are perfectly hardy, need no protection in winter, no fertilizer, no water in dry weather. In my garden, at least, they have not been attacked by insects and have grown placidly on, needing absolutely no care but to have the stalks cut down when they have finished blossoming. They are most effective when grown in clumps, but look very well along a fence with Hollyhocks at the back. The plants are so inexpensive that I have bought mine, but see no reason why they cannot be raised from seed. Small plants form near the parent stem, and these can be separated and transplanted. A late spring frost will sometimes nip the flower stalk that has just started, and there will be no bloom that year. To avoid such a disaster, whenever, in late spring, a frosty night is suspected, cover the plants with a piece of burlap.
Tritomas (Red-hot Poker Plant) bloom in September and October, and should always be planted in masses, and in full sun. They must be well covered with leaves or stable litter late in November, or they will be winter-killed. They increase rapidly.
Gaillardias bloom all summer, and keep fresh in water for days. The plants are covered with long - stemmed, yellow flowers with dark crimson centers, and should also be protected in winter.
Veronica hngifolia, a most beautiful dark blue flower, which grows in long spikes. Veronica remains in bloom during the month of August, and is one of the most showy flowers in the garden at that time.
Iris, Japanese and German, do well when naturalized in the grass. These plants increase so, that every four years they can be separated. Beginning with the German Iris, flowering the end of May, they can be had in bloom until the Japanese Iris finishes blossoming the middle of July. No Orchids are more beautiful than the Japanese Iris. A couple of weeks before and during the period of bloom they must be kept very moist.
Both the German and the Japanese Iris are perfectly hardy and increase rapidly. The English Iris, of which the white variety, known as Mont Blanc, is the most beautiful, and the Spanish Iris, in all its varieties, are not hardy. But with careful winter covering, about equal to that given to the ever-blooming Roses, they will generally survive, and are well worth the trouble. The roots of all varieties of Iris are very long, and care must be taken to give them plenty of room and to plant deep.