Diploma 0/ the Royal Botanic Society

Climbers for New Gardens - Quick Growing Sorts - How to Cover Trellises - Vegetable Marrows and Gourds - Sweet-peas and other Annuals - How to Make a Basket-bed

Most frequently the owner of a new house is troubled by the bare appearance of the garden, and wishes to see it clothed the first year in summer beauty, such as is most likely the case in gardens near by.

But every practical woman will know that these effects are the results of years of growth and training. Most likely she begins by planting roses and permanent climbers, such as have already been dealt with (page 3684, vol. 4), but she knows that these will hardly make any show for a long time, and she longs for some effect in the immediate future.

Easily Grown Climbers

There are really some annual climbing and trailing plants which provide a quick effect of beauty in the garden. Foremost among these are the homely climbing nasturtium and the rather more dignified tropaeolums. If the garden already has arches, see that there is a small bed of soil at the foot of them, but do not trouble to have good soil for nasturtiums, as they will not need it, and are inclined to run to leaf if overfed. The seeds of tall nasturtiums should not be sown before April, but they will grow rapidly, and from June onwards will be covered with bloom. Tropaeolums, fireball, and lobbianum, are climbers allied to the nasturtiums, and can be bought in pots in May for threepence or fourpence apiece. Where there is a greenhouse they are, of course, easily raised from seed sown in March.

The same may be said of cobaea scandens, the cup and saucer flower, though this is really a perennial. It will not survive the cold weather, but planted out in April or May it will cover an arch or fence in an open position with its pretty pale green and purple flowers, which are followed in autumn by handsome fruits.

The Chilian glory flower (Eccremocarpus scaber) can also be treated as an annual, and planted in a southerly position; and the mina lobata and thunbergia alata, which are other half-hardy annuals.

The Canary Creeper

But perhaps the most satisfactory temporary climber of the above class, where it thrives, is the canary creeper (tropaeolum canariense). It should be planted out in May, and when once established will continue to put forth its pretty little shoots, which recall a bird's foot in shape, and entwine its growth round every object within reach, spreading a mass of golden flowers to the sun. This climber is especially suitable for allowing to ramble over wire arches, or it can be arranged to screen an ugly brick wall or fence. Treated in this way, it will continue to flourish profusely until cut down by frost.

It must be borne in mind that many creepers, like the above, will not come to their best unless planted in a sunny, open situation, such as will be often the condition where a house is surrounded by newly planted trees which have not yet had time to form a screen. In just such a position the large and small flowered convolvuluses can be planted, also clian-thus Dampieri; and seeds of these should be sown in April when all fear of frost is over. Another way of obtaining quick effects for the late summer and autumn is to sow in April or May a packet of seeds of ornamental gourds, or, if possessed of a greenhouse, to raise the seeds earlier and plant out in May.

Ornamental Gourds

Gourds can be grown effectively as twiners round a tripod of poles arranged for the purpose, or they can be allowed to cover a sunny bank. The mention of these fruits calls to mind the vegetable marrow, and it is worth a reminder that there is no better way of utilising a corner in a waste part of the garden, provided it is not devoid of sunshine, than by making up a mound of richly manured soil, putting in two or three marrow plants, and allowing them to cover the neighbouring ground with their vigorous shoots.

Among climbing plants which are suitable for covering trellises to shut out an ugly view, common and variegated hops can be planted, and these will make plenty of growth the first year.

Sweet-peas are, of course, the most charming among climbers, and can be grown either on a trellis or against pea-sticks, or even encouraged to climb up a framework of bamboos and string - a form of training, indeed, which can be adapted to many annual climbers. Ordinary trelliswork of painted laths, horizontal or diagonal in form, can be bought very cheaply, but more attractive trellises and arches can be formed of unstripped larch or fir, or made of willow wands.

Cocculus helery styllus. This handsome ivy leaved climber will rapidly cover a pillar or pergola, reaching twelve to eighteen feet in one season Copyright, James Veitch & Sons

Cocculus helery styllus. This handsome ivy-leaved climber will rapidly cover a pillar or pergola, reaching twelve to eighteen feet in one season Copyright, James Veitch & Sons

Different Designs for Training Climbers

There are other designs in the form of umbrellas, balloons, baskets, and so on, which can be made pleasing features in a garden, and it may be wished to cover some of these with quick-growing annual climbers, or with plants which can be grown out of doors in summer and brought indoors for the winter. Tropaeolum ball of fire can be used in this way, canadensis,thunbergia, and aristolochia (the Dutchman's pipe). Trailing plants are required for baskets, and ivy-leaved geraniums will give great beauty here, as some can be trained upright in the basket, and others allowed to hang down at the sides. Others, again, may be pegged down in the soil, to form a carpet for the taller plants. Besides climbing geraniums, asparagus spren-geri can be used, trades-cantia, campanula-isophylla (the little campanula in white or blue which is seen to perfection in the hanging baskets of a cottager's parlour-window), and verbenas for pegging down, besides creeping jenny, periwinkles, ivy-leaved toad-flax, and other permanent climbers. Making a Basket Bed To make a basket bed for a lawn, the design should be traced out first, either round or oval, and larch or spruce rods be driven in the requisite height from the ground. Bent rods of the same wood may be twisted in and out of the framework, or osiers can be used. Baskets can also be wholly constructed of stout wire. The bed inside the framework should be made up of well-enriched soil.

Hollowed tree-stumps can be planted with attractive climbers. Where a rich, moist, peaty soil is available, the flame-flower may be persuaded to grow with some success.

A word must be said, before concluding, in favour of the homely but useful scarlet-runner bean, which may be trained on stakes or strings, and will form a screen almost anywhere, covering a large space of ground with its handsome scarlet flowers.