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"Give me a tree, a well, a hive,
And I can save my soul alive."
— "Thanksgiving," KATHARINE TYNAN.
A very rough and hard bank of nearly solid clay with a south exposure has for some years been planted to narcissus Emperor, Cynosure, and one or two other rather later varieties. Striking boldly along among these, while in full bloom, grows an irregular line, thickening and thinning in places, of tulip Vermilion Brilliant, absolutely described by its name. As the flowers of these scarlet and yellow bulbs commence to fade, the ground below them begins to green with little leaves of calendulas Orange King and Sulphur Queen, as well as of the fine double white poppy White Swan. These practically cover the dying bulb leaves in a few weeks and produce a succession of charming bloom beginning rather early in the summer. A few zinnias do well among them, the medium tall varieties grown only from seed labelled "Flesh-color." For my purposes this zinnia color is always the best. It generally produces flowers varying from flesh-pink to pale or faded yellow, colors which in all their range look so well with yellow or warm pink flowers that many unique and lovely combinations are obtained by their free use. Beware of the zinnia seed marked "Rose," and of all mixtures of this seed. The seed rarely comes true to color, and its bad colors are so hideously wrong with most other flowers that they are a very real menace to the beginner in what we might call picture-gardening.
Iceland poppies, thickly planted among the narcissi and tulips, would bring a crop of charming silken blooms well held above the foliage already on that bank, and coming between the earlier and later flower crops.
The little walk of dark brick shown in the first illustration is bordered in very early spring by blue grape hyacinths (Muscari botryoides), followed closely by the fine forget-me-not Myoaotis dissitiflora in mounds and sprays. Among these are quantities of the cream-white daffodil (Narcissus cernuus). Alternating with the plants of early forget-me-not are many more of Sutton's Perfection and Sutton's Royal Blue, which come into bloom as the earliest fade; these grow very tall and form a foreground of perfect loveliness for the tall Tulipa retroflexa, which rises irregularly back of the small sky-blue flowers below, completing a combination of cream color and light blue charmingly delicate and effective. Following the two blue and cream-white crops of flowers bordering this walk, dark-pink phloxes bloom in early August, three successive periods of gayety being thus assured to the little pathway.
A continuation of this walk, running
toward a wooden gateway in a trellised screen, may boast also of three
successive flower-appearances of different kinds. Back of the brick edging
bordering the gravel are planted alternating groups of myosotis Sutton's Royal
Blue, hardy dianthus Her Majesty, and early and late hardy asters, the two
mentioned in another chapter, Coombe Fishacre and Pulcherrima. First to enliven
the borders with color is the myosotis, a peculiarly pretty effect occurring in
the leading up, at either end of the walk, of the irregular edge-groups of pale
blue to low masses of the old-fashioned Harison's
Yellow and Persian Yellow rose. Late forget-me-not is never lovelier than when used in connection with this rose. The combination reminds me of the delicate colors of the flower-boxes below each window of Paquin's great establishment in the Rue de la Paix, as it may be seen every May. Following the myosotis and yellow roses come masses of the scented white pinks, while by this time the hardy asters have developed into handsome dark-green groups of leaves and give all through the summer a rich green contrasting well with the gray mounds of dianthus foliage, and finally, in September, rising suddenly into sprays of tall, fine lavender bloom.
No succession crop of spring and early summer that I have happened upon seems to work better than that of tulip Yellow Rose planted in small spaces between common and named varieties of Oriental Poppy. The tulip, in itself of gorgeous beauty, very rich yellow and extremely double, absolutely lacks backbone, and the first heavy shower brings its widely opened flowers to earth to be bespattered with mud. The leaves of the poppy, upright and hairy, form a capital support for the misbehaving stem of Yellow Rose, and the poppies, having thus lent the tulips aid in time of need, go a step farther and cover their drying foliage with a handsome acanthus-like screen of green surmounted by the noble scarlet and salmon blooms of early June. This is a very simple, practical, and safe experiment in succession crops, and is heartily commended. Following these poppies comes the bloom of a few plants of campanula Die Fee, and I am trying this year the experiment of Campanula pyramidalis in blues and whites thickly planted among the poppies, for late summer bloom when the poppy leaves shall have vanished. This is a large demand to make upon the earth in a small space, but, with encouragement by means of several top-dressings of well-rotted manure, I hope to accomplish this crop succession satisfactorily. Among the yellow columbines (Aquilegia chrysantha) I generally tuck quantities of white or purple stocks, those known as Sutton's Perfection. The aquilegia is cut close to the ground as soon as its seed-pods take the place of flowers; and the stocks are then beginning their long period of bloom. Canterbury bells are usually the centres of colonies of annual asters (my great favorites are the single Aster Sinensis, in chosen colors — not to be had in every seed-list, by the way), and of groups of gladiolus bulbs so arranged as to hide the vacancy left when the Canterbury bells must be lifted from the ground after blooming.
In four places in the garden where rather low-growing things are desired, are alternate groups of a handsome, dark, velvety-red sweet-william — the seed of which was given me by Miss Jekyll, who described this as the color of the sweet-william of the old English cottage garden — and well-grown plants of Stokesia cyanea. As soon as the fine heads of sweet-william begin to crisp and dry, the beautiful lavender-blue flowers of the Stokesia take up the wondrous tale, and a veil of delicate blue is drawn over the spots which a few days since ran red with a riot of dark loveliness.
Among larkspurs I plant Salvia patens, which to look tidy when blooming must be carefully staked while the stems are pliable and tender. Second crops of delphinium bloom seem to me a mistake — I believe the vitality of the plant is somewhat impaired and the color of the flowers is seldom as clear and fine as in the first crop. Green leaves in plenty should be left, of course: the lower part of Salvia patens is not attractive and its pale-blue flowers have added beauty rising from the fresh delphinium foliage.
The plan of planting the everlasting pea (Lathyrus latifolius, var. The Pearl) among delphiniums, to follow their bloom by clouds of white flowers, is recommended by an English authority. To continue the blue of tall delphinium, the very best succession crop is that of Delphinium Chinese or grandiflorum, the lower branching one with the cut leaf ; a fine hardy perennial in exquisite shades of pale and deep blue, whose flowers are at their very best immediately after the spikes of their blue sisters have gone into retirement.
The fine new Dropmore variety of Anchusa Italica is exceedingly good placed near the vigorous green spikes of the leaves of the white false dragonhead (Physostegia Virginica, var. alba): when the latter is low, the great anchusa leaves nearly cover it; and after the crop of brilliant blue flowers is exhausted, and the robust plants are cut back, the physostegia raises its tall white spikes of bloom a few weeks later, brightening an otherwise dull spot.
Platycodons, both blue and white, are capital to dwell among and succeed Canterbury bells; the platycodons to be followed again in their turn by the later-blooming Campanula pyramidalis.
Will some kind garden-lover make me his debtor by suggesting a good neighbor and successor to the hardy phlox? This has been a problem in a locality where frost is due in early September, and some of the tenderer things, such as cosmos, are really nothing but a risk. If one could raze one's phloxes to the ground once they had finished their best bloom, the case might be different. But the French growers now advise (according to interesting cultural instructions for phlox-growing issued by one specialist) the retention of all flower stalks during winter! This makes necessary an immense amount of work in the way of cutting, toward early September, in order that the phloxes may keep some decent appearance as shrublike plants of green.
To follow the bloom of Iris Gertnanica (of which I find two varieties planted together, Mrs. Horace Darwin and Gloire de Hillegom, to give a charming succession crop of flowers with a change of hue as well), I have already recommended the planting of gladiolus. Lilium candidum growing back of iris leaves is also effective, and, by carefully considered planting, gladiolus forms a between-crop of no little value.
Of succession crops to follow each other in places apart, it is hardly worth while to speak. This is an easy matter to arrange; the fading of color before one shrubbery group acting as a signal to another place to brighten. Munstead primroses (cut, page 46) are scarcely out of bloom when tulip Cottage Maid and arabis are in beauty, as in cut on page 41, in an unused spot under grapes, and these are quickly followed by rambler roses (cut, page 48), peonies, and Canterbury bells in the garden proper (cut, page 48). Bordering on the turf edges of a walk in a kitchen garden three succession crops of flowers have been obtained by the use of these three plantings. Roses stand a foot back from the grass. Between them and the turf long, irregular masses of Tulipa Gesrwriana, var. rosea, bloom rich rose-red in May. The roses follow in June; and Beauty of Oxford verbena covers the dying tulip leaves with clusters of wonderful pink bloom which lasts well into the autumn.
I have sometimes thought that a
white garden would be a simple matter to arrange, and that, under certain very
green and fresh conditions and with plenty of rich shadow to give its tones
variety, it should not be monotonous. The procession of white flowers is so
remarkable, beginning, say, with the snowdrop, bloodroot, sweet white violet,
and the arabis in its single and double forms, followed quickly by Iberia Gibraltarica and Phlox subulata, white violas — all these
for the low early flowers — and followed by larger, taller, and more massive
blooms, from peonies on to Canterbury bells, thence to lilies, white
hollyhocks, gypsophilas, Pearl achillea, and white phloxes. Dozens of flower
names occur at the mere thought. It seems as though every flower must have its
white representative. Whether an all-white garden would be truly agreeable or
no, I cannot say, but I do hold that sufficient white is not used in our
gardens — that a certain brilliancy in sunlight is lost by the absence of
masses of white flowers, succession crops of which it is so easy to obtain and
maintain. With the free use of white flowers, there is sure to be a fresh
proclamation of beauty, too, at twilight and under the moon — arguments which
must appeal to the amateur gardener of poetic taste.
MUNSTEAD PRIMROSE AND TULIP WHITE SWAN ON SLOPE BELOW POPLAR AND PINE
PEONIES AND CANTERBURY BELLS
DISCREET USE OF RAMBLER ROSE LADY GAY