Lately I have grown only two varieties, a vivid scarlet and a salmon-pink. They are not only lovely when growing, but make a beautiful house decoration, as the stems are long and stiff.
Poppies growing in rows July fourteenth.
Sweet Peas, which no garden can do without. Several books say, plant in autumn, very late. I have twice sown two pounds at this time, carefully following the directions, and not one single Pea came up the following spring. Sweet Peas should be sown in the spring the moment the frost comes out of the ground, so that they may become deeply rooted before dry weather. Make a trench about a foot deep and a foot wide. Have a good layer of manure in the bottom of the trench, over which put a couple of inches of earth, and over this earth put a good layer of wood-ashes, again a sprinkling of earth. Then sow the Peas, and cover them with a couple of inches of earth. As they grow, fill in the trench, and keep on hilling up the plants until the roots are very deep. It is well to mulch them with the clippings of lawn grass. In this way the plants are kept from drying up, and will bloom until October.
Sweet Peas flourish best on a trellis of galvanized wire netting. It should be a permanent trellis, made of cedar posts set three feet deep, so as to be below the frost line and four feet high. To this attach the wire netting. A trench should be made on either side of the netting, so that a double row of Peas may be sown. The quantity sown depends on the length of the trellis; three pounds will sow a double row one hundred and twenty-five feet long. I always sow the different colours separately. It simplifies the task of arranging them, if they can be gathered separately. A bowl of white Sweet Peas and Maidenhair Fern is indeed a "thing of beauty."
Pansies, every one loves them. They are annuals, but do best if treated as biennials. The most practical hint that I was able to get from "Elizabeth's German Garden" was where she spoke of carpeting her Rose beds with Pansies. This instantly appealed to me, as I greatly dislike to see the earth in the beds and borders, and in Rose beds it always is to be seen. So I bought an ounce each of white and yellow Pansy seed, sowed it about the tenth of July in the partly shaded end of the seed-bed, and by October first had splendid great plants. I did not allow these to blossom, but picked off the buds, and, after the Rose beds had been given a plentiful top-dressing of manure carefully stirred in with a large trowel, I transplanted my Pansy plants. Of course, they had to be covered over with the Roses the last of November, and often during the winter I wondered whether the dears would be smothered. On the twenty-eighth of March the beds were uncovered, and, imagine it! there were Pansies in bloom. From April tenth until late in August these beds were simply a carpet of white and yellow. I never saw anything like it. It was probably due to the rich soil, perhaps also to the free watering necessary for the Roses. Then, in order that no Pansies should go to seed, my own maid, who is very fond of flowers, undertook each morning to cut off all that were begin-ning to wither. This required from one to two hours, but certainly prolonged the bloom, and I could never have spared a man so long for just the Pansies. Sow Pansy seed in the seed-bed about the tenth of July, and transplant late in October.
These are some of the more important annuals which no garden should be without. All of them are easy to raise, and blossom abundantly. I do not speak of the many others, but advise trying new flowers every year.
The first week in June is the time to transplant all annuals. Do it, if possible, directly after a rain, always late in the afternoon, and, of course, water well after transplanting. I have a method of my own for the transplanting of seedlings, and by following it the tiny plants never wither or are set back, and in fact do not seem to know that they have been moved. Take a tin box, such as biscuits come in, half fill it with water, then lift into it from the seed-bed about one hundred seedlings at a time. With a sharp-pointed stick make holes in the bed where the little plants are to go, and then put them in. Soak the ground thoroughly after each patch is finished. In this way the tiny rootlets never become dry.
A Bowl of Cosmos September twenty-ninth.
All the beds and borders can be kept free from weeds and in good condition if gone over with a trowel every five days, or once a week, the earth stirred thoroughly, and any weeds that may have grown taken out. It is particularly necessary, for a few weeks in the spring, to keep well ahead of the weeds. I always think of my sins when I weed. They grow apace in the same way and are harder still to get rid of. It seems a pity sometimes not to nurture a pet one, just as it does to destroy a beautiful plant of Wild Mustard, or of Queen Anne's Lace.