"Visions of blue Violet plots, White Daisies and Forget-me-nots."

Some of us have a balcony as well as a window-box. Here is a field indeed; we have more space, more opportunity for display. Rescued from the hands of the florist, balcony-gardening becomes one of the most interesting of occupations. Here we may aspire to creepers and climbers in a good aspect, even to Roses. Imagine it in London!

"Rose-trees, either side the doorway Growing lithe and growing tall, Each one set, a summer Warder For the keeping of the hall."

Climbers in pots that make thick summer growth are easiest to manage; these we can get fresh every season, and they greatly brighten up the old friends that have lived with us from year to year through the adversities of frost and fog. Major Convolvulus and the perennial "Morning Glories" do well, also Canadensis; but all these must have sun.

For a town wall-plant nothing can surpass the Winter Jasmine, whose yellow blossoms cheer the dullest months, and in summer we welcome its long green trails, which we must not forget to cut back every autumn, or it will get too straggly. It is always the year's young shoots that are wanted for beauty. Forsythia, with its golden flowers of February and March, delight us sometimes on the fronts of London houses in very early spring, but the foliage is not so decorative afterwards, and for the balcony we must have summer beauty. The Virginia Creeper, that we have brought from the generous West (along with other pretty things and people), is now so familiar that we forget that it is really a new-comer. It was in 1841, at the back of a house in Rutland Gate, that the Virginia Creeper made its first appearance in London. Since then how much it has done to beautify our towns, both the common kind and the small-leaved Ampelopsis Veitchii, whose habit of self-clinging renders it so invaluable. Some critics think we use this Creeper too freely, but I do not agree with them. Either on grey stone or brick, or trellis-work or rails, its light festoons of green, or red, or crimson - as the sun has dyed them - give summer grace and autumn colour.

Of the Ivy there is no occasion to speak, except to remind that there are more kinds than one. Good balcony shrubs for backgrounds are easily found, and in many contrasting tints of green and gold. With respect to pot plants, Mrs. Earle gives a suggestion that is worth following up: "One day outside a dining-room window of a London house I noticed some large, heavy, oblong Japanese flowerpots planted with single plants. They looked very well, as one was able to see the growth of the plants. The pots were glazed, and much thicker than the ordinary flower-pot. This lessens evaporation, and their weight prevents them from being blown over."

A Hanging Basket

A Hanging Basket

Ordinary flower-pots are not suitable in our climate for outer windows and balconies.

I am convinced that for furnishing the balcony there is a great future for strong, well-made, handsome pots. It is wonderful what can be grown in them. No one understands this better than the flower-lover who has ever lived in any of the West Indian Islands, where there is no soil, and everything has to be grown in pots and tubs. Tubs are charming, so cheap, so easy to manage, and so decorative when tastefully painted. Plants always take kindly to tubs, and both tubs and pots can be arranged and moved about with case - a great convenience when ladies undertake the work.

But tubs and pots are not the only receptacles that are useful for balconies, verandahs, leads, and window-doorways. Italian oil-jars answer very well, either whole or sawn in half to make two. Seakale pots serve the same purpose. For painting them in colour, nothing is better than a low-toned green, which harmonizes with all else. There is a certain dull red that pleases some tastes; but red is a colour that tires.

The quality of the material of which the receptacles are made must be considered, as it has a great deal to do with the amount of water the plants will require. Ordinary flower-pot ware is very porous, and plants grown in large flower-pots require more frequent watering than when grown in anything else. The evaporation through plain wood is not nearly so great as through unglazed earthenware, and when the wood is painted it is still less. Glazing an ordinary flower-pot makes it more protective. Old petroleum barrels (when the oil has been turned out) and butter-tubs are excellent plant-holders, but of course must have ample provision made for drainage, and several good-sized holes must be pierced at the bottom. If the tub or pot has not much depth of room underneath, it should be set on bricks, or raised in some other way. This assists drainage, and keeps the holes from being blocked by worms or otherwise. Repotting is very seldom required if in the first instance good compost is freely given.

The best way of feeding our tub plants and shrubs is very clearly explained in a paper on "Tub Gardening," by Mr. Alger Petts in The Garden of September 21, 1891. It is well worth study by those who mean to take seriously to tub-gardening; but most likely the tub-gardeners of the London balcony do not expect their plants to live long. They would do so, however, if properly looked after and given a fair chance. One great advantage about flowering pot and tub plants is that they bear more blossoms grown in this way than if they were in the open border; the strength of them goes to blossom instead of root, as everybody knows.

London in June! How beautiful it is, especially at the West End, the best End! and who can doubt it owes much of its beauty to plants and flowers? There they are, in shops and dairies, even among the delicate confections of the modiste, pots of green Ferns, even fragrant blossoms. On a summer's day in Bond Street I have sometimes stopped involuntarily to feast my eyes on the artistic arrangement of a shop-front, where blocks of ice and silvery white-bait, the scarlet lobster and the subtle pinks of salmon mingle with trails of grass and seaweed green. This is delightful, but we should like more of it. Why should not our streets be even gayer than they are now, and sweeter? Over the shop-fronts and on leads, as well as in the window-box or on the balcony, we would see something fresh and growing. Cut flowers are all very well, but they make only for beauty. The growing plant is a health-helper, as well as pleasing to the eye, for the carbonic fumes that kill us are positively good for plants; they live on and enjoy them.

Trees and all green things are good ; but trees, unless a street is very wide indeed, take up tod much room, robbing us of light and preventing the air from circulating.

Balcony-gardening need never do this; we can keep to low-growing things and creepers. Many a town house has balconies large enough to lounge in. On a July evening, under the delicate thin curve of a new moon, or in starlight, how sweet the summer dusk, even in London, and flowers are just as fragrant here as in the country. Where so welcome as in cities are "pointed blossoms rising delicate, with the perfume strong we love"?

I was once a frequent visitor at a London house which was always kept full of growing plants, and could never enjoy one of them. Why? Because I knew each one was dying every moment. They were treated exactly like furniture. A dark corner would be "lighted up" by the splendour of a Scarlet Geranium in full bloom ; (it did not remain scarlet long); a Daphne showed its fragrant stars on a davenport close to the fireplace, and a long way off the window. No one ever picked off a dead leaf or gave the plants so much as a cupful of cold water. Every few days the florist's man came round, took away the invalids - for such they had become - and arranged a fresh lot. Poor plants, they had my sympathy! I do not think this treatment of flowers shows the least real love for them; better were it to grow the humblest blooms out in the open air, upon the balcony.

In a lady's paper the other day I chanced to see some practical hints on how to convert a London balcony into a miniature garden, and thought them worth transcribing.

"One of the first things to be considered is what flowers will flourish in the smoky atmosphere. I have noticed that the ivy-leaf Geranium does well, and this makes a brave show, and grows rapidly. Close to the front of the balcony have some narrow boxes made or wood, painted green, and fill these with plenty of plants, which can be trained to the rails of the ironwork, and thus make quite a screen. A striped awning should be fixed to the wall of the house just above the drawing-room windows, and this can be made removable by driving iron staples into the wall and sewing rings on to the canvas awning. In the front three iron uprights must be fixed to the balcony, one at each end, and one in the middle. The top of each upright can be bent over to form a ring, and the awning can be tied on to these with strong tapes. Two large hanging baskets of ferns should be suspended from a thin rod, which is passed from end to end of the iron uprights, and if two more baskets are hung from the lowest rail of the balcony in front, the bower will be complete.

With some matting on the floor and two lounge wicker chairs, this will make a charming retreat on a hot day and a cool lounge on a sultry evening."

I can exactly picture such a balcony as this, and would edge the box with plants of musk, the smell of which would be delicious in the drawing-room, especially on a summer's afternoon, just after it had been watered.