copyright, Kellscraft Studio
1999-2002                                             
(Return to Web Text-ures)                                             

Click Here to return to
My Garden
Content Page

Click Here to return to
the previous section


 (HOME)   

WHO’S WHO AMONG THE ANNUALS

 Too perfect for a life so brief
                                    Seemed every star and bud and bell.
                                              — Celia Thaxter.

 THE feeling that annuals do not quite “belong” in the sense that the regular inhabitants of the garden do is perhaps an unjust one, but to this sentiment toward them I must plead guilty. Their reappearance in our midst is entirely a matter of our whim, while the hardy herbaceous plants, save in case of death, accident, or misbehaviour, are sure to greet us from their accustomed places every spring. I love the gay summer visitors, but do not want too many of them at once. They give to the garden a fugitive, unstable quality, like that felt in cities where every one lives in an apartment and moves at least once a year, and there are no old families, or traditions, nor anything comfortably familiar and just as it has always been. Many annuals do their best to overcome their transitory nature by sowing their seeds broadcast, which, in the case of hardy annuals, come safely through the winter and are on hand with the perennials to meet the spring, not, however, in their proper places, but all over the garden, with a nave disregard for the premises of old settlers, and creating havoc in various of our cherished colour schemes. In our garden the English Field Poppy is a great offender along this line. It has not been planted here for years, but every summer a scarlet tide rises upon the garden, holding sway for almost two weeks, when, “like fires extinguished by the rain,” it is gone. Each year I say it shall not happen again, for they mean the destruction of many a choice colour arrangement, but not yet have I been able to resist their blithe clamour, or their flattering assumption of the quality of mercy in me, which assures their safety, even in the midst of the pink Pyrethrums.

Sweet Alyssum, Cornflowers, Love-in-a-mist, Linaria, California Poppies, Sweet Sultans, Erysimums, Annual Anchusa, Balsams, Marigolds, Nicotiana, Snapdragons, Mignonette, Candytuft, and Poppies of all sorts are among those that do their best to become permanent residents, and these seedlings, being available so early in the year, are very handy for filling the places of such recalcitrant perennials as may have taken themselves off during the winter. Indeed this is one of the important uses of annuals. No winter passes but takes its toll of “hardy” plants, and we have not always others to take their places, or do not care to go to the expense of buying, so that we should be grateful to this class of flowers that will, for five or ten cents, cover the distressing blanks with loveliness. Biennials, too, leave spaces behind them to be filled, and there are also the bulb borders and beds.

Annuals are splendid for cutting, inexpensive, present a wide range of colour, form, and fragrance, germinate and develop quickly, and bloom with prodigal generosity, all of which are good reasons for having plenty, but not in the flower garden proper — a few used as fillers-in, or to create some special effect, and the rest in a space set apart for cutting. The kitchen garden is usually the most convenient place.

Annuals are known as hardy, half-hardy, and tender. In milder climates than ours many hardy annuals are sown in autumn, and while we may meet with some success with this method it is never a certainty, and I think that March and early April planting of hardy annuals out of doors, or February planting indoors, will prove more satisfactory. Half-hardy and tender annuals may be sown out of doors about the time the farmers are planting corn, or may be started under glass in February, which, in the case of tender annuals, is a great advantage, as it gives them a start ahead of the drought that often gives them such a setback as to leave them permanently stunted. It is really important to know this difference between hardy and tender sorts, for an early sowing outdoors of tender annuals will result in complete loss, while a too late sowing of hardy kinds will just as certainly end in failure.

This class of plants is as impatient of neglect and adverse conditions as any other, though an impression seems to exist to the effect that a little scratching of the soil and scattering of seed is all that is necessary where annuals are concerned. But this is by no means the case, and they are quite as capable of sulking and presenting a spindling, half-clothed appearance when not suited as their betters in higher circles, and they always repay intelligent attention. In the first place, they are nearly all sun worshippers; there are very few that will endure shade; also they are a thirsty lot and want moisture, but require a well-drained soil, deeply dug, and only moderately rich with manure. Each plant must have plenty of room to develop, and too much stress cannot be put upon this point. Especially where seed is sown where it is to remain, and comes up thickly, unmerciful thinning must be done, or a very poor showing will be the result. It is economy to buy only the best seeds, and better effects will be achieved if seeds are bought only in separate colours and varieties. The mixed packet is better let alone. A long period of bloom is assured if no seed is allowed to form, for annuals are among those gracious beings who, the more you take from them, the more they have to give. A pinch of superphosphate, given to each little plant when set out and the ground kept cultivated and moist, will mean a rich and speedy reward.

For planting among the perennials I think the following are the twelve best annuals:

Stock, Snapdragon, Sweet-sultan, Wallflower, Marigold, Zinnia, China Aster, Clarkia, Nigella, Nicotiana, Star Chrysanthemum, and Salvia Bluebeard.

A dozen sorts good for edging are these:

California Poppies, Sweet Alyssum, Candytuft, Dwarf Nasturtiums, Chinese and Japanese Pinks, French Marigolds, Silenes, Phlox Drummondii, Nemophila, Convolvulus minor, Sanvitalia procumbens, and Saponaria calabrica.

There are so many annuals that it would be impossible to speak of all, and so in the following notes I have chosen only those which, after several seasons’ trial in the gardens here, have proven their usefulness in our dry climate.

The letters h. a., h.h.a., and t.a., stand for hardy, half-hardy, and tender annuals.

 Alyssum maritimum, h. a., six inches to one foot. Sweet Alyssum. 
The compact, dwarf varieties, such as Little Gem, are the best for edging. Comes into bloom very early and continues until after hard frost. Best sown where it is to flower. Fragrant.

Anagallis arvensis var. caerulea, h. h. a., six to eight inches. Pimpernel.  
A charming little sky-blue flowered plant, which makes pretty sky-like patches along the front of the border. Best started under glass and set out in May.

Anchusa capensis, h. a., eighteen inches. Cape Forget-me-not.  
Branching growth and pretty forget-me-not-like flowers borne all the summer and autumn. Nice for cutting and very pretty in the borders. Good drought resister.

Argemone mexicana, h. a., three feet. Chicalote.  
Bears lovely white crpe poppy-like flowers, with conspicuous golden stamens. Foliage gray and prickly. Too free a seeder to be admitted to choice situations, but splendid for waste places, where it perpetuates itself. There is a pale-yellow sort.

Asperuta azurea var. setosa, h. a., one foot. Blue Woodruff.  
A charming responsive little plant, which cheerfully defies the drought and puts up, if necessary, with a poor soil and shade. Bears heads of clear lavender-blue flowers on stiff stems. Leaves in whorls. Pleasantly fragrant.

Callisiephus hortensis, h. h. a., six inches to three feet. China Aster.  
Beautiful and indispensable flowers for the late summer and autumn, the seeds of which are best started indoors, or in a frame, and planted out in May when all danger from frost is past. They like a light soil, deeply dug and well manured, and should be watered in dry weather.

There are many fine types. I like best the tall branching sorts known as Giant Comet, Ostrich Feather, and Peony, which grow as tall as twenty inches. The Victoria Asters are pyramidal in shape and bear countless blossoms with overlapping, recurved petals. There is another beautiful sort of rather recent introduction, with narrow “channelled” petals that are twisted. Single-flowered Asters have lately come into favour and are very pretty. The prettiest colours are shell-pink, pale lavender, white, and strong purple.

We tried last year, with great success, a very weak solution of Paris Green for the voracious aster beetle. It did not injure the plants and was fatal to the beetle.

Antirrhinum Majus, h. a., six inches to three feet. Snapdragon.  
These are the best and most invaluable of annuals. In mild climates and occasionally here in sheltered places, or in the joints of walls, they are perennial. For early bloom the seeds should be started under glass in February and March. They flower all summer and autumn and cover the widest range of colour. The flame-coloured ones are particularly splendid, and also those described as “apricot” and “chamois-rose.” Shell-pink and coral-pink, “old” pink and rose are lovely, also the pure white, blood-red, and clear yellow. They come in three heights; tall, medium, and dwarf. The medium sorts are the best for general purposes. The dwarf kinds are most satisfactory for the joints of walls and may be used for edgings though they are rather stiff for this purpose. Fragrant.

Impatiens Balsamina, h. a., two feet. Lady Slipper, Balsam.  
The Camelia-flowered sorts are the best and come in clear colours: salmon-rose, scarlet, and pure white. If inclined to grow “leggy,” instead of compact, the tops may be nipped off. They are among the flowers that find it difficult to maintain their improved state and are forever slipping back into their former condition of magenta clothes and poor figures, so self-sown seedlings should not be allowed to live.

Brachycome iberidifolia, h. h. a., six inches. Swan River Daisy.  
Refined little plants, with many blossoms resembling a Cineraria — clear lavender with a black and white central disc. The plant is rather frail and is comfortable with some light twigs placed in front of it. It makes a pretty edging for a summer border.

Browallia elata, h. a., one foot.  
These form trim little bushes covered with blue or white flowers over a long period. They endure drought with fortitude.

Campanula attica, h. h. a., three inches. Bellflower.  
A wee, blue-belied mite, best suited to a rock garden or a stone-edged border, where its roots may find shelter and moisture among the stones.

Celosia, t. a., eighteen inches. Cockscomb.  
I cannot profess to any great enjoyment in the great flowers of the Cockscomb, though they make good masses of colour in various shades of red, scarlet, salmon, and there is a good old gold sort. The “feathered” and “plume” varieties are better and less realistic than the “crested.” They should be started indoors.

Centaurea, h. a., Knapweed.  
In this family are several very good annuals, best known among which is cyanus, the friendly little Cornflower of so true a blue. Once planted in the garden one will find the pleasant tufts of leaves every year, for the seed is very hardy and this simple flower desires greatly to stay among the “regulars.” There are pink and white sorts, but these are rather faded looking. A double sort is very pretty.

Centaurea imperialis (Sweet Sultan) is one of the most beautiful of annuals, bearing, until frost, long-stemmed, fragrant flowers, in shades of mauve, purple, and white — unrivalled for cutting. They grow about two feet tall and love a sunny situation. They resent disturbance and so should be sown where they are to flower, and well thinned to insure perfect development.

C. americana (American Basket Flower) is less well known, but is an extremely handsome plant with large, beautiful lavender flowers.

Cheiranthus, h. a., eighteen inches. Wallflower.  
Sweet and homely is the yellow wallflower “stained with iron-brown.” The annual variety known as “Parisian extra early,” if sown under glass in March, will bloom all summer and autumn and provide many a nosegay of deliciously scented flowers. There are all shades of yellow, red, and russet.

Chrysanthemum, h. a.  
Among Annual Chrysanthemums those known as the “star-group” are the finest: Morning Star, Evening Star, Eastern Star, and Northern Star. They make bushy plants about eighteen inches high, and bear many large daisy-like flowers in shades of yellow and orange. They are long stemmed, and good for cutting and last well in water. Another good sort is C. inodorum plenissimum. var. Bridal Robe, which grows eighteen inches tall and is covered with snowy bloom. Lord Beaconsfield and Chamelion, which bear handsome crimson and gold flowers, are also useful. The Chrysanthemums are easy of culture, asking only full sunshine and a good rich soil.

Clarkia elegans, h. a., two and a half feet.  
Attractive, branching plants, carrying well-clothed flower spikes of scarlet, salmon-pink, or white. These flowers are very beautiful, and in good soil and sunshine will bloom all summer if not allowed to seed.

Convolvulus minor, eight inches, h. a., Dwarf Morning Glory.  
It is impossible to imagine anything much prettier than the wide, blue-eyed C. tricolour with white throat and yellow decorations. These baby Morning Glories stay wide open all day and make nice little spreading bushes, very pretty and useful along the front of the borders. Sow where they are to flower. They bloom all summer.

Cosmos, t. a., six feet.  
This is the tallest and latest flowering annual. The seed is best started indoors and set out when danger of frost is past in good soil and a sheltered position, giving each plant several feet of room for development. The lovely flowers are pink, rose, and white. The variety known as Lady Lenox is a lovely pink and very large flowered, and there is also a white Lady Lenox.

Delphinium, h. a., three feet. Annual Larkspurs.  
Invaluable plants for cutting, as well as for garden decoration. The long spikes of flowers are pink, rose, lavender, purple, and white. They are best sown very early in spring where they are to flower, and well thinned when an inch or so high. There are various forms, but I think the “tall branched” is the best.

Dianthus Chinensis, h. a., six to twelve inches. Indian Pink.  
Floriferous little plants, jewel-like in their brilliance and with the charm common to all Pinks. They are lovely for edging and come in many good varieties. Crimson Belle is a very bright single; Purity, a lovely double white; Fireball, double and very bright; Mourning Cloak is double and dark crimson strikingly edged with white. Salmon Queen, which may be had either single or double, is a beautiful colour, and Lucifer is a splendid new sort with dazzling scarlet flowers with fringed edges. Often these plants will survive a winter and bloom early the following spring.

Dimorphotheca aurantiaca, twelve to fifteen inches, h. h. a. Namaqualand Daisy.  
This gorgeous South African is a newcomer to our gardens and is so good that it bids fair to make some of the old sorts look to their laurels. The great daisy-like flowers are a beautiful warm salmon-orange in colour, with a black central ring. It blooms all summer and seems oblivious to drought. H started outdoors, early May is time enough.

Erysimum Arkansanum, h. a., eighteen inches. Alpine Wallflower. 
This and E. Peroskianum are lovely annuals, bearing their gay yellow or orange flowers all summer if not allowed to go to seed. They are much like Wallflowers and are fragrant.

Eschscholtzia, h. a., six to eight inches. California Poppy.  
Prettiest and gayest of annuals, with finely cut gray foliage and cup-shaped flowers in every delectable shade of cream, orange, scarlet, yellow, and soft yellowy-salmon. They adore the sun and scorn the drought and have no bad traits of any sort. The hardy seed is fond of roving and makes itself comfortable in the chinks of walls and steps and in all sorts of seemingly unlikely places. There are many good varieties but none any better than the common californica. Sow where they are to flower.

Godetia, h. a., one to two feet.  
Cheerful flowers, generous in bloom if given a rich, dry soil, plenty of air and sunshine, and room to develop. They may be planted out or started indoors for earlier bloom. Prettiest in rather large groups of one kind. Some good sorts are Lady Satin Rose, deep pink, one foot; Duchess of Albany, pure white, one foot; Sunset, dwarf carmine; Crimson King, one foot; Princess of Wales, Ruby-coloured pencilled with gray.

Gypsophila, h. a., eighteen inches. Chalk Plant.  
G. elegans is very useful for cutting — somewhat resembling its perennial relation with cloudlike masses of small white flowers.

G. muralis is a tiny plant only a few inches tall, looking when in bloom like a wee sunset cloud. We grow it here in the joints of steps and walls as it is too frail for the open garden.

Helianthus, h. a., three to four feet. Sunflower.  
Some of the annual Sunflowers are very pretty, those known as C. cucumerifolius in both single and double forms are the best. Any situation where the sun shines is comfortable for them.

Iberis, h. a., four to eight inches. Candytuft.  
These are charming for edgings or for spreading patches at the front of the borders. The great white Empress is the handsomest, but the rose and lilac sorts are pretty and the little old “sweet scented” is always welcome. They may be planted outdoors where they are to grow.

lonopsidium acaule, h. a., three inches. Violet Cress.  
A diminutive little plant with tiny pale lavender or white flowers, very lovely in the rockery, in the cracks between bricks or steps. Self-sows freely. The seed is very small and should be lightly pressed into the soil and not covered.

Lavatera tremestris var. rosea splendens, h. h. a., three feet. Mallow. 
This lovely Mallow loves a rich, deeply dug soil and a sunny exposure. It is a large plant requiring room to develop, so the seedlings should be thinned to eighteen inches apart. Sow in April where it is to flower and water in dry weather.

Leptosiphon hybridus, h. a., two to four inches.  
Gay little annuals too small and frail save for rockwork or the chinks of walls, steps, etc. The foliage is threadlike. It is best in a partially shaded situation and loves a loamy soil. Seeds should be shown in March and early April where they are to grow.

Linaria, h. a., one foot. Toadflax.  
The annual Toadflaxes are pretty enough to justify a few gay patches along the edge of the borders. The blossoms are like small Snapdragons and come in pretty soft shades.

Linum grandiflorum, h. h. a., twelve to fourteen inches. Scarlet Flax.  
This is a truly beautiful plant with delicate foliage and wine-red blossoms. It does not bloom all summer, so I like to make two sowings, as I do not like to be without it. It wants a sunny situation and good soil and the seedlings should be severely thinned so as to induce a bushy, self-supporting growth.

Lupinus, h. a., one to two feet. Lupine.  
These are as beautiful as the perennial varieties. The tall spikes of pea-like flowers come in various colours — all charming. L. Menziesii forms a nice bush eighteen inches high and bears lovely yellow flowers. L. mutabilis, with pretty rose and white flowers, is charming, also a variety of this called Cruickshanki with blue, white, and yellow flowers. This grows four feet high. There is a lovely white sort and one called hybridus atro-coccineus with gay crimson flowers tipped with white that is one of the best.

The large seeds should be planted two inches below the surface of the soil where they are to remain, in good soil and sunshine. In dry weather the plants require liberal watering.

Marigold, h. a.  
I like everything about this plant. His grand trumpeting colour, his nice gig-saw foliage, his clean, pungent odour, and, most of all, his kindly nature. This is a plain fellow, and plain living suits him best, but once in a while my heart gets the better of my reason and I feed him up a bit, but alas, right away he loses his head and sprawls all over the place, his upstanding carriage gone and his great blossoms fit to burst. I cannot imagine a garden without Marigolds, from the great lemon and orange Africans to the debonair little French fellows in brown and gold which are so neat and tidy and <span style="font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;">shining along the edges of the borders. They may be started under glass or sown out of doors where they are to grow.

Matthiola, h. h. a., eighteen to twenty-four inches. Stock, Gillyflower.  
Lovely in form and foliage, colour and fragrance are the Ten Weeks Stocks. Next to Snapdragons I think they are the best of annuals for planting among perennials. There are various forms offered, all of which are good; and the colours, buff, white, blush, pink, rose, crimson, mauve, and purple are all pretty, but my own choice is for double Stocks in the pale shades, white, buff, and tender pink. Seeds may be planted out of doors when all danger of frost is past, but it is more satisfactory to start them under glass and set the young plants out in May.

Matthiola bicornis is the Night-scented Stock, a shy, inconspicuous little plant about a foot high, which withholds its fine perfume from the day but pours it forth to the night. It is pleasant to have a few patches of this stock about the garden for the sake of its sweetness.

Nemesia, twelve to eighteen inches.  
These are charming flowers showing jewel-like colours and having a long period of bloom. N. strumosa, Sutton’s variety, is the finest strain. Blue Gem is a dwarfer sort with lovely sky-blue flowers. In our climate Nemesias are started in flats or frames in March to give them a good start ahead of dry weather. When set out in the garden they will need five or six inches between them, and if the central shoot is nipped off, a bushy, branching growth will follow. A rich loam with the addition of a little wood ashes is the best soil for them.

Nemophila insignis, h. a., three to four inches. Love Grove.  
A truly lovely little flower, sky-blue with a shining white eye. It will do well anywhere in good soil, but in partial shade and soil, a little damp, it creates a brave show indeed. For small beds and borders no prettier edging could be had.

Nicotiana affinis, h. a., three feet. White Tobacco.  
Both this plant and the hybrid N. Sanderae, the flowers of which are in shades of soft pink, are good annuals for our dry climate and are striking enough to fill quite prominent places at the back of the border. They bloom until after hard frost. The perfume of the White Tobacco is very delicious at night and the tubular blossoms have a shimmering quality which makes them very charming in the moonlit garden.

Nigella damascena, h. a., eighteen inches. Love-in-a-mist.  
Of all blue annuals this is the bluest and the quaintest, the most old fashioned and the prettiest. The variety named for Miss Jekyll is the best and bluest and will bloom all summer long if seed does not form. It dislikes transplanting, so should be sown where it is to flower and thinned out to five inches apart. It is very charming planted near Gypsophila paniculata.

Papaver, h. a., Poppy.  
These creations of heat and light, of silken gauze and crinkled crpe, have no peers for colour and texture in the floral kingdom. They are like dainty bits of finery, and as such must we use them in the garden, for their beauty is ephemeral and they leave sad blanks behind them. One could hardly give a list of the best annual Poppies, for they are many and all so lovely as to make choice difficult, but a few which seem to me particularly beautiful are: Charles Darwin, shades of mauve-pink, single; Danish Cross, striking scarlet and white, single; Miss Sherwood, lovely salmon-pink and white, single; the Bride, pure white, single; Dainty Lady, pinky-mauve, single, and the lovely Shirleys, in all the finest shades of pink and scarlet. Besides the single sorts are various double-flowered Poppies, like powder puffs and globes of fringed petals. These are known as Carnation-flowered and Paeony-flowered and may be had in as lovely shades as the singles.

It is my experience that Poppy seed should be sown as early in the spring as possible, in March or early in April, and it is well to choose a windless day as the seed is very fine and will be blown in all directions, and it should be sown very thinly where it is to remain.

Petunia, h. h. a.  
This has long filled a useful place in our gardens and is very pretty if care is used in selecting colours, for some are not good. The soft frilly white ones are the prettiest and are very nice along the edges of borders or for filling beds. Mr. Speer, in his fine book on Annuals, says, “Propagate the seeds by sowing on the surface of a compost of loam, leaf-mold, and sand in well-drained pans, in February or March in a temperature of 65 degrees.” In late May they may be set out in the garden, allowing each plant plenty of room for development.

Phacelia campanularia, h. a.  
This is a fine bushy little plant for the front of the border, with clear blue bell-shaped flowers and gray-green foliage curiously marked with claret. It may be sown out of doors in early spring, and is grateful for good garden soil and sunshine.

Phlox Drummondii, t. a.  
This is an invaluable plant for edging as well as for beds, and comes in a great number of delightful colours. We raise them in the frames and set out in May but they may be sown late out of doors if so desired. They love a sunny situation, and a rich, well-drained soil and a pinch of lime given to each little plant heartens them up greatly. If the plants are inclined to grow straggly the tops may be nipped off the leading shoots. They bloom all summer. Reseda, h. a., Mignonette.

No garden would deserve the name without generous plantings of sweet-breathed Mignonette. With us it self-sows freely, and I am always grateful for these gratuitous patches of sweetness wherever they appear in the garden.

To have Mignonette at its best the soil should be somewhat damp, but it will do well enough under ordinary garden conditions. The seed may be sown out of doors early in April, and the young plants should be well thinned. Some of the good varieties are Machet, Golden Machet, Defiance, Parson’s White, and Pyramidal.

Salpiglossis t. a., two feet. Painted Tongue.  
The blossoms of the Salpiglossis are much like a Petunia in shape, but there the resemblance ends, for few flowers present such esthetic colour schemes — smoked pearl, soft amaranth, rose, burnished purple, delicate buff, and all with pencillings or flushes of deeper colour. Being tender annuals, they are best started indoors and set out in late May in a sunny situation.

Salvia.  
The scarlet Salvia is too well known to need description. Its colour is the most difficult to harmonize and the most recklessly used in the floral kingdom. Divers coloured houses rise from the midst of its surrounding flames, beds of it break up many a fair stretch of lawn, and it utterly cows and overpowers flowers of less strong colour in its neighbourhood. It never tempts me, neither Pride of Zurich, Bonfire, nor the rest, but they may easily be had by planting the seed indoors in February or March, or young plants may be purchased from any florist. The variety of Salvia horminum called Bluebeard is quite a different matter, the rich blue-purple of its terminal bracts being long lasting and most valuable in the garden. The seeds are hardy and may be sown out of doors very early.

Sanvitalia procumbens, h. a.  
A small, indomitable trailer, quite smothered from early July until frost with tiny sunflower-like blossoms. The colour is a trifle raw, but the whole plant is so thrifty and cheerful that one cannot but enjoy it. Good for edging.

Saponaria calabrica, h. a., Soapwort.  
This plant is as cheerfully pink as the foregoing is cheerfully yellow and resembles it in its trailing habit. It resists dry weather very well, and where a pink edging is wanted nothing could be prettier.

Scabiosa, h. a., Sweet Scabius.  
This is a popular and easily cultivated annual very nice for cutting as the pretty flower heads are borne on long stems and come in a large variety of charming colours, among which may be found maroon so dark as to be almost black, besides mauve, scarlet, pink, buff, white, and others. Fragrant.

Silene pendula rosea, h. a., four to six inches.  
This is a nice little plant for edging, which, when covered with its bright pink blossoms, is very gay and pretty indeed. If it is wanted all through the summer several sowings should be made.

Verbena.  
These are best started indoors and set in their permanent places in May. They come in several nice colours, the salmon-pink being particularly pretty. If the branches are pegged down with wire hairpins when they begin to “run,” they will cover the ground closely and bloom until killed by frost. Verbenas like a rich soil and full sun and will thrive where many a more thirsty plant will fail.

Zinnia, h. h. a., eighteen inches to two feet. 
Youth and Old Age. These are so often bought “mixed” and present so garish an appearance that many people are ignorant of the really fine effects to be gotten from seeds obtained in separate colours and planted in harmonious groups. The blossoms have a curious lustreless quality to their colours which is rather attractive and run into all sorts of off shades which are useful. There is a pretty ashen pink sort, a good bronzy yellow, a soft cream, a fine salmon, and a rich, dark red. Plain food and full sun is all they require.

The Everlastings.  

One summer I tried in the nursery a number of these annual flowers, which, on account of their straw-like texture and keeping qualities, are called “everlasting.” Many of them are quite pretty enough for garden decoration even though one does not care for the stiff bouquets for winter use. I am fond of these old-fashioned posies and like always to have a few. The colours remain almost undimmed if the flowers are gathered just before they are fully expanded and hung head downward in a dry cool place. I remember, when a little girl in Baltimore, that in the open-air markets for which that city is justly famous there were always several stalls devoted to the sale of Everlasting decorations. Many of these were funeral wreathes and crosses, but others were the gayest of elaborately arranged bouquets for the mantelpiece or centre table.

Helichrysum is the Immortelle of the French, the favourite flower for memorial emblems. It is very pretty indeed, being globular in form with crisp, incurving petals. It comes in various colours, scarlet, salmon, russet, yellow, and a good white called Silver Queen. They self-sow in our garden so we are sure of one winter bouquet at least.

Acroclinium is a half-hardy annual growing about two and a half feet tall bearing star-like flowers about an inch across in soft rose-lilac or white and with grayish foliage. The winged Everlasting, Ammobium alatum, has small white flowers with a yellow centre and is very quaint and pretty. It is a hardy annual which blooms all summer long. Gnaphalium foetidum is also a hardy annual and much like the foregoing save as to colour which is yellow. Helipterum is yellow and in shape like the Helichrysums, but it loses its nice golden colour when dried and becomes rather a dull green.

The Rhodanthes are extremely pretty with their pink blossoms pendent upon slender stems. R. Manglesii, called the Swan River Everlasting, has charming rose-coloured rosettes with yellow centres. The foliage of these plants is broad and pleasant and they grow about fourteen inches high. They do not like to be moved, but as they are very tender must either be started indoors and transplanted with a ball of earth, or sown out of doors in May where they are to remain.

The double flowers of Xeranthemum annuum are particularly old-fashioned looking and rather sombre in their violet and purple colouring. They grow about two feet tall and may be sown out of doors in April. The Globe Amaranthe with its round, frankly magenta blooms is one of my favourites. It blooms all summer long and the bunches of bright coloured flowers are very cheery when the long white days are upon us. It may be sown out of doors after danger from frost is past. The Everlastings are very attractive grown in association with the annual and perennial grasses.


Click the icon to go to the next chapter of My Garden.