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"The opportunity to introduce such elaborate fountains and combinations of pools and cascades as are seen abroad does not often occur in this country -- and where water is used, some regard must generally be paid to the presence of the water-metre. A pool or basin of standing water, as in the old Egyptian gardens, will, however, serve to grow aquatic plants, and to add that touch of life to the scene which can best be given by reflections from the surface of a pool. Indeed, the charming effects that can be obtained at comparatively slight expense by the judicious use of a small basin make water one of the most useful accessories of the garden."
-- GUY LOWELL.
THE WATER GARDEN
WATER in a landscape is as a mirror to a room -- the feature that doubles and enhances all its charms. Whoever may possess a lake, a pond or a pool to catch the sunbeams, duplicate the trees and flowers on its bank, reflect the moon, and multiply the stars, surely will. A distinct and delightful class of plants may then be added to one's place.
Where may one hope to have a water garden? Anywhere! For a wash-tub, sunk in a city back yard, would hold at least one of the pastel-tinted water-lilies. Even a rain barrel under the water-spout of a farm house has grown quantities of water hyacinths that sent up spires of porcelain-blue blossoms throughout the summer; but only this plant that can anchor its peculiar roots firmly enough to resist the sudden downpour of thunderstorms and has vigour enough to choke the river Amazon should be chosen for such a place.
One charming little water garden was planted in kerosene oil barrels. First they were sawed in half, then set fire to within, presently turned open end downward on the ground to extinguish the flames after the oil was consumed, and then sunk to their depth in the earth at different intervals and levels in a sheltered, sunny spot; the perfect circle of their basins concealed by irregularly placed stones with the everywhere useful creeping phlox, candytuft, the dwarf bamboo and Japanese iris growing between them. And the whole ten tubs, each slowly dripping its overflow into another through little concrete gutters cleverly hidden under the stones, were supplied with a stream of water smaller than a lead pencil, from the house main. The zealous amateur who a few years ago proudly displayed in her oil barrels some of the choicest Merliac water lilies, of as varied tints as a debutante's party dresses, her brilliant water poppies and the feathery papyrus plant of the Egyptians, now invites your admiration of her superb pink Indian lotuses that thrive in six half-hogsheads. If she might sink the hull of the Great Eastern in her little sunny lawn and grow the Victoria regia therein perhaps her ambition would be still unsatisfied.
Even where the smallest stream of running water cannot be had -- and constantly running water is not desirable except in large ponds -- there is no danger of mosquitoes breeding in tubs and barrels if these are flushed out with a hose once a week. But, of course, the ideal spot for a water garden is an otherwise worthless, boggy piece of low land through which a sluggish stream finds its way. Nothing remains but to clear the land of stumps, brush and the rankest weeds, to dam the stream and plant your pond. Nature has been working for you during the centuries.
Your true landscape gardener will cherish the alder bushes, osier willows, tulip trees, tamarack and swamp maples on the banks, magnolia, wild azalea, meadow sweet, button-bushes, superbum lilies, boneset, yes, and even the tall, stalwart "cat tail" bulrushes. Like wild rice, arrow-head, pickerel weed, wild iris and sedges, the rushes, that rise in phalanxes on the margins of the pond, are content to stand either on the shore or with their feet in water. Study the work of the best Japanese artists if you would realise the decorative value of such plants. Politely but firmly will the landscape gardener, who has not mistaken his calling, overrule his patron's suggestion to have a shaven lawn come down to the water's edge, knowing that it would strike as false a note of artificiality in a naturalistic picture as a concrete curb. Nor may the man who merely pays indulge a fancy for little dumpy islands that would give an effect something like a fly-specked looking-glass to the mirror-like surface of the pond. One might think that rhododendrons would look well anywhere, but perhaps no other plant is so unsuited to small islands, which they seem to transform into dumplings.
"WATER IN A LANDSCAPE IS A MIRROR TO A ROOM --
THE FEATURE THAT DOUBLES AND ENHANCES ALL ITS CHARMS."
Oftentimes the beauty of plants already growing about the site of a proposed pond should determine the shape of it. How well worth while to let a little promontory jut out into the water in order to save a fine clump of white birches backed by hemlocks; to leave as an island, if the pond be large enough, the colony of clethra and andromeda bushes where Maryland yellow-throats have had their happy home for generations; to indent the shore where the water of a little bay might refresh trilliums, spring beauties, marsh marigolds, Virginia cowslip and royal fern (Osmunda) that would certainly perish through too drastic draining. An indented shore line increases the apparent size of a pond, besides affording more margin for planting. In any case, a flowing, irregular outline is always preferable to the perfect ellipses and circles suggesting geometry problems writ in water.
One of the most delightful by-products of a pond -- to use a commercial phrase -- may be a bog garden. "Nature's sanctuary," it will be remembered, was Thoreau's name for the swamp about Walden pond where he found some of her loveliest treasures hidden. There is the ordinary bog of plain black muck, semi-fluid and bottomless, yet not without its gifts of cardinal flower, viburnum, silky dogwood, blue lobelia, Joe Pye weed, elm-leaved goldenrod, convolvulus and hosts of other lovely wild shrubs and flowers; but it is in the sphagnum bog, where for ages the moss has grown and decomposed, slowly piling layer on layer, that the interesting insectivorous plants have their home -- pitcher plants, Venus's fly-trap, butter-wort, sundew, and many of the shyest, loveliest orchids. Water in a sphagnum bog is the purest of the pure, containing no bacteria, and as its moss is so poor in nitrogen we now understand why some of its denizens must either get that element through an insect diet, or, like the bog-loving members of the heath and orchid families, secure their nourishment from decaying organic matter. Which is to say that they, in common with the ghoulish Indian pipe, pine sap and mushrooms are what botanists call "partial saprophites" -- a far more respectable class than out and out parasites to which the murderous mistletoe and dodder belong.
In the making of a wholly artificial pond of any considerable size that is desired to have the appearance of a natural sheet of water, so much digging and grading will be necessary, so much mixing of cement or puddling of clay to make a water-tight layer on the bottom and sides of it, so much preparation of good, rich, heavy soil for planting in, that only the most zealous lover of aquatic plants should attempt one; only a rich man can afford one, and no one less than a genius can give an entirely artificial water-garden the semblance of sincerity and perfect naturalness. A natural hollow in the land, deep enough to allow the addition of more than a foot of rich soil, will save an excavator's bill; a spring or any water supply in the vicinity that will prevent a plumber's longer bill for piping is a boon, and the presence of a bed of pure clay for puddling the pond will also save dollars that one would so much more gladly give for shrubs hardy flowers and water lilies than for cement.
A BROOK, FALLING DOWN THE SWARD BETWEEN TREES AND BUSHES AND CLUMPY
GROWTHS, MAY BE INDUCED BY A DAM TO OVERFLOW A BIT OF LOW-LYING MEADOW
AND BECOME THE PRINCIPLE FACTOR IN A WATER GARDEN.
After the gently curving outline of an artificial pond has been staked out, it will probably be necessary to use a spirit level and straight edge to fix the grade for levelling the bottom; perhaps a surveyor's instrument may be needed if the pond is to have a greater diameter than a hundred feet. Small water gardens can have charms out of all proportion to their size and expense, let it be remembered. As the roots of water lilies must never be allowed to freeze, the depth of the pond they are to be planted in will be determined by the thickness of the ice, if any, that is likely to form over it. It is certainly desirable that the water should be as shallow as possible, usually not deeper than three feet, not only because the sun will keep it warmer, but because much digging will be saved. Then, too, the rubber-booted gardener should be able to wade out to every plant in case of need. For this reason the practical person will advocate the planting of water lily and lotus roots in tubs or boxes and sinking them, rather than setting them out in the enriched bottom of the pond itself where they may spread at will. If the entire bottom of a pond be covered to the depth of fifteen or eighteen inches with rich, heavy soil, the cost is naturally considerably greater than when only the small area planted, or the tubs that contain the tubers and rhizomes of aquatic plants, need be supplied with it. Moreover, the rubber boot is sure to damage roots that roam at large, and, by stirring up muck and rubbish from the bottom, it fouls the water.
Since much water is necessarily lost from a pond every day by evaporation and the transpiration of the plants, it is essential that little or none should be lost by leakage, particularly if the water supply be not abundant. An ordinary day labourer can mix pure clay in a mason's shallow, wooden mortar-box, chop it with a spade if it be lumpy, sparingly moisten and then pound it with a wooden maul until it is of the proper consistency to be beaten on to the sides and bottom of the pond to the depth of three or four inches. After it has been well tamped, let him tamp it yet again. A coating of beach sand and pebbles over the clay bottom is desirable where they may be had. Spread over the soil in the bottom of any pond, natural or artificial, they prevent the manure and other rubbish from rising through the water, which should be clear as a mirror always.
Cement will be used where there is no clay available for lining the artificial pond, especially where the soil is naturally sandy and mixed with gravel, through which Niagara itself would drain through to China. For the pools and wide canals of frankly formal gardens concrete is indispensable. After a carpenter has made the wooden frame for the circle, ellipse, square or whatever shape is desired for the pool, it is a simple matter for the village mason to pour mixed cement and sand into it. Some very beautiful effects have been obtained with aquatic plants in artificial basins, notably at the great expositions in Chicago and St. Louis; but generally speaking, lotuses, water lilies and their associates are best adapted to the naturalistic method of treatment on home grounds.
From the artistic standpoint, the artificial pond is usually sadly handicapped, but from that of the practical grower of choice aquatics there are undeniable advantages in having cultural conditions under control -- in being able to regulate the water supply with a spigot, to drain off the water, if necessary. For the little sluggish brook that looks so innocent at midsummer, when you make your delightful plan, may swell into a raging, obstreperous torrent next spring, tear away your wild garden and rockery, scour a devastating course through your ineffably precious bog garden, undermine the banks and the dam of your pond, and actually cause the death of your pet aquatics by drowning them. One cannot prepare too carefully against such a disaster. A dam of the most solid construction is the first essential. Open ditches and ample drains that are really adequate outlets for the water as fast as it enters in time of flood must be provided for a pond that is supplied by a brook, but even an artificial pond needs to have an outlet for the water which will become stagnant and unhealthful if there is not some movement of it at times, however slight. The perfectly balanced aquarium is not made on so large a scale.
WHAT WATER GARDEN WAS EVER COMPLETE WITHOUT ITS GOLDEN-HEARTED PASTEL-TINTED
WATER-LILIES FLOATING ON THE SURFACE AMONG THEIR DISC-LIKE LEAVES OF BRONZE, COPPERY
GREEN AND MAHOGANY?
Aquatics insist upon a very rich and rather heavy soil -- about one-third cow manure to two parts of well rotted sods is not too hearty a diet for these voracious feeders. It has been noted that flowers of especially fine colouring are produced where there is an intermixture of pure clay with the soil. Wild water lilies may fare well enough on decayed leaves and other vegetable matter in the mucky bottoms of natural ponds, but the best results are not obtained when this simple diet is offered the pampered darlings of the French and American hybridisers. Lotuses withhold their queenly flowers unless they are abundantly fed. Water poppies, papyrus, flowering grasses, bamboo and other companions are not so fastidious, but they, too, enjoy good living.
In autumn, after the canvas for the picture has been prepared, as it were, for the painter's brush, begin the planting by setting out such hardy deciduous trees and shrubs as have been chosen for a background. Evergreens, however, which make the most effective windbreak, would better wait until late spring. At the risk of harping too much upon one string, let it be said yet again that the trees and shrubs that grow naturally in the neighbourhood, and so fit in well with the surrounding landscape, are always the best to use. Don't plant Colorado blue spruces on the north bank of your pond if you live in Massachusetts, nor dwarf Japanese maples of brilliant reds and yellows, nor shrubs with variegated leaves, nor other exclamation points, in what should be a reposeful, naturalistic composition. In any case, don't set out tall growing trees where they will shade your pond, which needs all the sunshine possible. You may plant much or little on the gently sloping banks, but the real test of the artistic treatment of any water garden is the softening or effacing of the line where land and water meet. Grindling Gibbons spent two years carving a frame for a mirror. Nature bestows her most deft and delicate touches upon water margins. She has a large class of exquisite amphibious plants for her mirror frames -- the flowering sedges, irises, marsh marigolds, rushes, meadow-rue, forget-me-nots, fringy ferns, the white-blossomed arrow-head and the blue spiked pickerel weed, water-clover, the great blue lobelia, next of kin to the gorgeous cardinal flower, jewel weed, boneset, elm-leaved goldenrod, eupatorium, a swamp wild rose (R. Carolina), and a host of others. Whoever possesses an old pond, with its own precious edge fringed with the luxuriant growth that springs out of alluvial soil, has more done for him than he who need not attempt to imitate it can realise. Although he may add to nature's list of plants for his special section the decorative Eulalia grasses, erianthus, the stately Japanese irises and aquatic plants from the five continents, it is doubtful if he add thereby to the artistic result. Only where the pond adjoins a garden do the ordinary garden flowers look well about it -- poppies, foxgloves, larkspurs, and their familiar associates, boldly planted. Just as in the Latin language an adjective must agree with its noun in gender, number, and case, so must a garden, aquatic or otherwise, agree with its environment. It would be as futile to attempt a naturalistic pond in the centre of a smooth shaven lawn as to place a classic Roman Nymphaeum in the midst of a wild garden.
But what water garden was ever complete without its golden-hearted, waxy-white and exquisitely tinted water lilies floating on the surface among their disc-like leaves of bronze, copper, and mahogany? To secure flowers of the hardy Nymphaeas the same season, plant as early in the spring as the rhizomes show signs of growth, or at any later time until September to establish plants whose bloom is not expected until the following year. No matter in what depth of water a plant has grown previously, its hollow, rubber-like stems readily adapt themselves to new conditions, and although submerged two feet when set out, it will send up its leaves to the sun and air on the surface in an incredibly short time. Where it is possible to control the supply of water, increase the depth of the pond gradually and so keep it warm, thereby insuring a more rapid growth for the plants.
Lotuses (Nelumbo) should not be put in a small pond where choice water lilies are growing unless the latter, at least, are confined within tubs or partitions separating them from the greedy lotus tubers ever pushing about through the soft rich muck seeking what they may devour. The great round lotus leaves held up high above the surface would as effectually keep off the sun from the water lilies as so many big green umbrellas. It is sometimes necessary to anchor the roots of both water lilies and lotuses with bricks or stones before growth starts, lest they rise from their soft muddy bed and float away.
In the Northern states lotus tubers are often started indoors, and the tubs or hogsheads are dropped into the pond several weeks, perhaps, after the more hardy Nymphaeas were planted out; but, once established, lotuses withstand very severe winters, provided their roots do not freeze. Of all aquatic plants, perhaps they most resent being transplanted and interfered with. Where water is drained out of ponds and basins in winter, a thick covering of stable litter and autumn leaves, confined with branches, gives them and the water lilies all necessary protection. Tender tropical water lilies may never be trusted in the open until settled warm weather would make it quite safe to set out begonias. They, too, may be started indoors, preferably in the tubs or crates where they are to grow through the summer, and stored in a cellar or greenhouse during the winter. Where one has a pond large enough to grow the gigantic Victoria regia, it may be planted out at the same time as the tender Nymphaeas after it has made a good start under glass. Not even a gypsy camp in a neighbourhood will attract more visitors.
Although the lotus was sacred to the ancient Egyptians, it is only about fifty years ago that it, or indeed any aquatic plants, began to find their way into our affections and our gardens, and very slowly at first It was not until the magnificent display at the World's Fair, Chicago, that people realised what a great wealth of beauty lies within our easy reach. Even now, many have quite erroneous ideas concerning them -- for example, that only the rich may enjoy them, that artificial heat is necessary for all, and that deep, warm running water and an expert gardener to look after them are among their numerous wants. As a matter of fact, the hardy aquatics are as easily grown as potatoes. The booklets given away by the reliable dealers who make a specialty of aquatics furnish all necessary information concerning their simple culture. Even the tender, tropical water plants are less troublesome than many popular favourites -- show chrysanthemums, for example. Lively times with trap and gun may be in store for the grower of water lilies and lotuses before he has conquered their most troublesome foe, the water rat. Aphides may sometimes leave the rose bushes to suck the juicy young lotus stems, but strong spraying with a hose washes them off and kills many. If they are very persistent, however, it will be necessary to powder the plants with tobacco dust which, it is true, makes them unsightly for a time. If there is a small boy in the family who can be hired to collect lady-bugs and pasture them upon the aphides, for which they have an insatiable desire, it is an easy solution of what, at its worst, is a small difficulty. Frogs and water snails should be encouraged wherever aquatics are attempted.
FLOATING WATER LILIES AND THE INDIAN LOTUSES STANDING WITH THEIR LEAVES AND PINK FLOWERS
WELL ABOVE WATER. ALMOST EVERY GARDENER WILL MISINFORM YOU THAT THIS IS THE TRUE
EGYPTIAN LOTUS. THE SEED OF THE INDIAN LOTUS, WHICH IS GOOD TO EAT, IS THE SACRED BEAN
As for gold fish, they are indispensable. Hardy enough to live out in our northern ponds that never freeze to their total depth, the beautiful fish multiply astonishingly with no care whatever. The feathery submerged part of the water hyacinth is a favourite place for depositing their spawn. With the larvae of the mosquito that can develop only in water and which gold fish devour by the million, they eradicate the last reasonable objection to having a water garden near one's home. Without them on constant patrol, it might readily become a resort for the malaria-spreading pest. They are our foremost allies everywhere -- even in rain barrels -- against the mosquito. Carp in pools near castle, monastery and palace, were favourite pets of feudal lords, monks and kings in mediaeval days. Gold fish, the carp's rich relations, may be tamed even more readily to eat from the hand.
A water garden, however small, is worth having if only to attract the birds near one's home. How they delight in it! How they sing! Many visitors must travel miles for a drink on a hot day.
But perhaps they enjoy a splashing bath on the lily pads even more. From matins until evensong there is not an hour of the day when you cannot enjoy the visits of robins, catbirds and thrushes that are perhaps the most appreciative bathers among your many less familiar and more shy bird neighbours to whom water is the surest means of introduction.
Where a single Indian lotus might lift its great round leaves high above the water, catching the rain drops that roll about on them like so many balls of quicksilver; where its big pink, pointed buds might expand into golden-hearted flowers of Oriental splendour, and later, when the odd seed vessels might appear, I wonder how any one could forego so much beauty, even if only a tub at one's doorstep might be its humble habitation.
WHAT'S BEST OF THE TRUE WATER LILIES
BRYDON'S (Nymphaea James Brydon). Red. Strongest growing plant among the hardy red water lilies. Day bloomer. Good for cut flowers. Very early and floriferous. Sterile.
CAPE COD LILY (N. odorata, var. rosea). Even pink. Flowers to 7 inches. Opening 6 A.M., closing at noon, but sepals remain open. Shy bloomer. Does not thrive south of Philadelphia. 2 to 4 feet of water.
CHINESE PIGMY WATER LILY (N. tetragona). White. Smallest growing hardy water lily. June, September. Opens noon, closes at five o'clock. Flowers 2 inches across, star-like., Leaves dark green with dull red beneath. 1 to 3 feet of water.
DAZZLING WHITE LILY (N. alba, var. candidissima). Snowy white. Nearly odourless. June till frost. For depths 2 to 5 feet where the common pond lily cannot grow. Exceedingly strong and hardy. Day bloomer. Sterile.
DEVON'S (N. Devoniensis). Red. Best night-blooming water lily of its colour. Petals ovate 4 to 5 inches long. Not so expanded as O'Mara's. Very free blooming. Produces a number of lateral crowns. A single plant may cover two hundred square feet.
GLADSTONE'S (N. Gladstoniana). White. Hardy, day bloomer. Scentless; 8 inches in diameter. Petals forming a glistening sphere from early morning till 3 P.M. Enduring four days. Not very free flowering, but quite hardy and strong growing. Must have three or four shoots for continuous bloom. 1 to 2 feet of water.
GRACILIS (N. flavo-virens). The N. gracilis of the American trade, but differing from the plant of that name in the European trade. Dull white, star-shaped; narrow pointed petals. Sepals pure green. Sweetly scented, opening three successive days from early morning till six at night. 1 foot above the water. Easily raised by seeds or tubers. The commonest and best tender white day bloomer.
HUSTER'S (N. George Huster). Best very dark red night-blooming. Tender. Deeper flower than the Devon lily; 8 to 10 inches across. Otherwise like O'Mara's. Strong growing. Free bloomer.
LAYDEKER'S (N. Laydekeri varieties). For small spaces, 2 to 4 feet square, and for very shallow water. (var. fulgens). Magenta. (var. lilacea). Rosy lilac. (var. purpurea). Purplish. opening after nine o'clock. (var. rosea). Pink; most floriferous small pink. None of this class produces seed.
MARLIAC LILIES (N. Marliacea varieties). (var. albida). White, similar to Gladstone's lily; rank growing. Leaves and flowers often carried above the water. (var. carnea). Light pearly pink and var. rosea, deep rose, are both of identical habit. (var. ignea). Flowers deep red with cardinal stamens, floating, leaves blotched brown, deepest coloured hardy red. (var. chromatella). Most floriferous yellow, hardy, very double; early flowering. All these are good for small water gardens. Chromatella is the hardiest and most satisfactory of all the hardy lilies. June till frost. Leaves and flowers grow above water if crowded. Also good for cut flowers.
O'MARA'S (N. Omarana). Brilliant purple red. Glowing in the sunshine. Narrow white stripe in each petal. Flowers 1 foot across. Stamens brownish red. Blooms July till frost. Leaves bronzy red. The most splendid night-blooming water lily. Flowers 1 foot above the surface. Good for cutting.
PINK PIGMY (N. Laydekeri, var. rosea). Pink. Similar to Chinese white pigmy in size, habit, and leaf. Free flowering. More cup shaped. Colour deepens with age from shell pink to carmine rose. Very shallow water.
POND LILY (N. odorata). White. Unequalled for fragrance, but not so free flowering as some others. For large ponds. Hardy. Day bloomer. Flowers 2 to 5 inches. Good for cutting. ---, SOUTHERN (var. gigantea). White. Strongly scented, 3 to 6 inches across. For water up to 8 or 10 feet. Leaves 1 foot; round. A large odorata. ---, LESSER (var. minor). White. A diminutive odorata. The best water lily for shallows, and will even stand complete drying. Flowers 1 to 3 inches. ---, YELLOW (var. sulphurea). Best hardy yellow for shallows. Opening from 7 to 8 A.M. Best for cutting.
RED GRACILIS (N. flavo-virens, var. rubra). Deep pink, approaching red. Petals narrow, tapering. Flower star-like. Tender. Day blooming. Best tender red day bloomer. 1 foot above water.
RICHARDSON'S (N. tuberosa, var. Richardsoni). Most double of all the white water lilies. Odourless. Does best in about 3 feet of water. Flowers form a very delicate rosette. Floating.
ROBINSON'S (N. Robinsoni). Red. Outer petals yellowish. Flowers floating and leaves with a notch on border of the sinus. Oldest and best known of the yellow-red water lilies. Free flowering but not spreading rapidly. Hardy. Good for cut flowers.
SEIGNORETTE'S (N. Seignoretti). Excellent companion to Robinson's water lily but with flowers standing six inches above the water and leaf not notched.
STURTEVANT'S (N. Sturtevantii). Bright pink, with brownish orange stamens. Night blooming. Requires high temperature. Most massive in both flower and foliage. Flowers 1 foot in diameter. Leaves becoming bronze with age.
VICTORIA, OR GIANT AMAZON (Victoria Cruziana). The largest of all aquatics, leaves 6 feet across; flowers 1 foot; white, becoming pink on second day. Needs a warmed pond, but has borne seed out doors at Philadelphia. Better than the more tender V. Regia, which it closely resembles. Needs special pools. Raise annually from seed.
WHITE NIGHT (Nymphaea dentata). Pure white; 8 to 10 inches across. The petals make a ring at right angles to the petiole with central erect yellow stamens. Curiously stiff looking, like a short yellow candle in a white saucer. Var. grandiflora with wider petals, var. magnifica largest of all, var. superba with more numerous petals.
WHITE PIGMY. See CHINESE WHITE PIGMY.
YELLOW PIGMY (N. tetragona, var. Helvola). Yellow. Similar to the white pigmy, but leaves are heavily blotched with reddish brown. Hardy at Washington. Shy bloomer. 3 feet of water.
ZANZIBAR (N. Zanzibariensis). Royal blue. Tender. Day bloomer. Flowers 10 inches across; 8 to 10 inches above the water on stout stalks. Broad, blunt petals, anthers golden. Opening from three to five days 11 A.M. to 5 P.M. The best of all the water lilies, adapting itself to all sorts of conditions, flowering even in a small pot. July till frost. Var. azurea sky blue; var. rosea rose pink. Under sides of the leaves are coloured similarly to the flowers in each case.
DESIRABLE ADJUNCT PLANTS FOR THE WATER GARDEN
(Swamp Mallow, Loosestrife, Cardinal Flower, Meadow Rue, and many other plants named in the list of Natives for the Wild Garden and suitable for moist and wet soils can be used on the margins of the water garden. Reference should also be made to many plants enumerated in Herbaceous Perennials. They are indicated by (*) in both lists.)
The flowering season is given as for New York, generally, and will of course vary North or South.
BLADDERWORT (Utricularia purpurea). Submerged leaves bear bladders which trap insects. Purple flowers, quite showy in early summer. ---, COMMON (U. vulgaris.) Yellow flowers. Floats freely near the surface. Both require very still water.
BOG RUSH (Juncus effusus). Round dark-green stems. For marshy places. 2 to 4 feet.
BROOKLIME (Veronica Americana). Creeping plant for edges of brooks and ponds, making sheets of pale blue flowers. April to September. Leaves rounded. 4 to 6 inches high.
BULRUSH, CAT-TAIL (Typha latifola). 2 to 4 feet. For pool margins and still waters. Flowers borne in dense brown spike 6 inches long. For massing plant 2 feet apart. The best plant of its kind for this purpose. Summer.
CABOMBA (C. Caroliniana). Submerged. Luxuriant plumes to feet long. Hardy in two feet of water at Philadelphia. Commonest plant for aquaria.
CALLA, SPOTTED (Richardia albo-maculata). For margins; 2 feet. Leaves dark green with silvery spots. Flowers creamy yellow. 2 inches wide. Best spotted leafed plant.
FLOATING HEART (Limnanthemum lacunosum). Floating, ovate. Blotched or mottled. 2 inches broad. Attractive quite regardless of the white flowers borne all summer. Pools and still water. 2 feet deep.
FORGET-ME-NOT. See HERBACEOUS PLANTS.
GIANT REED (Arundo Donax). Boldest tall growing grass for semi-wild and tropical effects. 11 feet and, rarely, up to 30 feet. Looks like a giant corn. Variegated form less hardy than the type and dwarfer. Var. macrophylla is glaucous. Will grow where pampas grass is not hardy. Propagate by ripe canes laid on wet moss in winter.
HORN FERN (Ceratopteris thalictroides). For shallow water. Sterile fronds feathery, light green, 10 to 15 inches. New plants produced wherever these fronds fall into the water. Annual. Propagate by spores in water.
IRIS, YELLOW (Iris pseudacorus). Yellow, long strap-like, leaves. May, July; 2 feet. For marshes and banks. ---, JAPANESE (I. laevigata). Excellent for big floral effects. See also HERBACEOUS PLANTS.
LOTUS, AMERICAN (Nelumbo lutea). Creamy white, 10 inches in diameter; 3 to 4 feet above water. July, August. Excellent for wild waters; roots spread freely. Rich earth under 4 to 12 inches of water. Enclose roots in brick tank. Transplant in spring. ---, PINK (N. nucifera, or speciosum). Similar in all respects to the foregoing, except in pink flowers. There are many varieties of this: rosea, deep rose, single and double; Shiroman, white double; Kinshiren, dwarfer, double. Species is more hardy than the varieties.
MARSH MARIGOLD (Caltha palustris). Bright yellow. May; 12 to 15 inches. Good for sun or shade, on banks or in brooks up to 4 inches deep. Plant 1 foot apart. Double form and dwarf form.
PAPYRUS (Cyperus Papyrus). Soft and grass-like leaves a foot long on top of each stalk, like a large umbrella plant. Tender; take up after first frost in autumn to warm well-lighted tank; 4 to 6 feet above.
PARROT'S FEATHER (Myriophyllum proserpinacoides). Slender feathery plumes, very finely divided; 6 to 8 inches long. Roots in the earth at the margin, and makes the brightest green tuft over the water. Winter by putting a few pieces in a bottle of water.
PICKEREL WEED (Pontederia cordata). Blue. 8 to 12 inches above the water. In water 1 foot deep. See also NATIVE PLANTS.
PITCHER PLANT (Sarracenia purpurea). 6 to 8 inches, with flower stalk 18 inches. Leaves tubular, pitcher-like, and curved; greenish with reddish purple veins. For very wet borders. Flowers deep purple.
SWEET FLAG (Acorus calamus). For shallow lake, or wet places. feet high. Light green leaves. Flowers yellow. Leaves die at the top after spring growth, sometimes giving a very ragged effect. A. gramineus and var. variegatus, similar but dwarfer.
THALIA (Thalia divaricata). Broad oval leaves 1 foot long resembling canna leaves; G feet above. Will grow in a tub. Winter in warm tank or half dry in a cool house. Flowers insignificant.
UMBRELLA PLANT (Cyperus alternifolius). 3 feet. Similar to the common umbrella plant of the greenhouses, which is in truth a smaller variety. Easily propagated by division of the roots or by the leaf cut off and inserted in water.
WATER ARUM (Calla palustris). For banks. 6 inches. Mulch with sphagnum moss. Resembles common calla.
WATER ARUM (Peltandra Virginica). Arrow-shaped calla-like leaves. 6 inches long. Green spathe 6 inches long in May, June; 1 foot above water. Green berries when ripe. Plant in mud under one foot of water.
WATER CLOVER (Marsilia quadrifolia). For pond edges. Growing in the earth or floating. Looks like a four-leaved clover. Useful for hiding pond margin.
WATER CRESS (Nasturtium officinale). For margins of clear streams 6 to 8 inches. Flowers white, small, all summer. Easily raised from seed or cuttings. Good cover to keep fish cool.
WATER HYACINTH (Eichhornia speciosa). Floats, or in water up to 2 feet. 18 inches. Leaves 5 inches in diameter with inflated stalks. Flowers violet in spikes 8 inches long. Spreads rapidly, must be restricted by wooden pen. A weed South.
WATER POPPY (Limnocharis Humboldti). Yellow. All summer; 6 inches. Floating leaves 3 inches across. Flowers borne singly, as big as the leaves, and above, last one day. Resembles California poppy. Tender. Plant in shallow water.
WATER SHIELD (Brasenia peltata). Floating. Leaves entire, 1 to 3 inches, broad, greenish, or purplish. Flowers dull purple appearing above the surface. Plant in 1 to 6 feet of water.