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PRESTAT YN. I """""'-----""""-"""./



darkrtmg. [If any reader who is in a difficulty with reference to his garden, will write directly to the ad- dress given beneath, his queries will be an- swered, free of charge, and by return of post. —EDITOR! THE FLOWER GARDEN. Both during this and next month hardy an- nual flowers can be sown on the ope border, the seeds being scattered on a moderately fine surface, fiom which clods and stones' have been removed, but not so fine bod to become pasty when watered. It is most essential in all cases to sow thinly, and to cover the seeds very lightly with soil, the smaller ones requiring the merest dusting of earth over them. The •great mistake made by most amateurs with le- gard to the culture of hardy annuals is that of not thinning them out early and boldly. Not only does overcrowding weaken the plants, but it prevents them from producing full sized blossoms. It is really surprising to see the space such a plant as ordinary mignonette will cover if allowed to spread naturally, without being cramped. We have seen a single rpeci men occupying nearly a square yard, and bear ing large masses of the most delightful bloom. Generally speaking all hardy annuals will bear transplanting, and the ground to which they are moved should be rich and deeplr dug This class of Hower is adapted on account of its great variety and ease of culture for many pur- poses for which it is now employed. Besides coming into bloom very soon alter being sown, the plants in many instances continue in full beauty right to the end of the season. It is by no means a difficult matter to ensure a brilliant bedding display with them without the aid of glass of any kind, and the beauty, brilliancy, and variety of colouring of such sorts as torn thumb, nasturtiums, crimson, white, and pur- ple candytufts, gauzy nemophilas, gorgeous scarlet flax, long blooming dwarf snap-dragons, and many another hardy flower, fairer and sweeter than words can tell, surely equal those of our most tender bedding plants. It must not be forgotten, too, that many annuals are del ghtfully fragrant, such as sweet peas, mig- nonette, sweet rocket, &c and if climbers or trailers are wanted, what could be more sump- tuous than the canary creeper, tall nasturtiums, and similar kinds? We believe that the very cheapness of the seeds of hardy annual plants has been the cause of the neglect with which they are now generally treated, and we would assure amateurs whose aim it is to secure rich- ness, variety, and freshness in their flower gar- dens that these so-called weedy and short lived' plants are worthy of the utmost consideration. Perhaps the most popular flower now in culti- vation is the aster, and it is impossible for any- one not acquainted with them to realise the beauty of the Comet, Victoria, and other varie- ties. Several sowings should be made now in gentle heat in pots of leaf mould, loam, and sand the seeds being barely covered with fine soil, and a sheet of glass being laid over the top of each pot. A temperature of from 55 to 60 degrees is to be desired, and if it becomes necessary to supply water the pots must be immersed until they have soaked up enough for the requirements of the seedlings. Ten- week stecks have latterly come into great favour, and no slight improvement is made every year in the quality of the flowers pro- duced. Sow the seeds now in shallow boxes of sweet, rather sandy soil, and never permit the pbnts to be crowded under any circumstances. Preserve a temperature of about 55 degrees, and be especially careful to prevent the heat run- ning up to much higher than this though 60 d grees will do no harm. Sow verbena seeds in a cool frame or hlluse, or even in the open ground, though the last method is a little un- certain, and pot off the seedlings singly directly they are large enough. The compact varieties make sumptuous bedding subjects. A few sow- ings of balsam in light, rich foil, on a gentle hot-bed, will provide good plants, it the seed- lings are pricked out and potted off early. Calceolaria plants will now commence to start into growth, and they may be potted on any time before the buds are formed. As in the case of all pot plants, manure will be found beneficial when the pots are full of roots See that the plants are neatly tied to sticks in good time. Lobelia seeds can still be sown in sandy soil in gentle heat, for planting out in May. It would be difficult to over-estimate the im- portance of this flower for bedding purposes. A very gay effect can be secured by sowing poppy seed where the plants are to blossom. They do not stand transplantation. Thin out the seedlings early to at least a foot. Dry banks, where other flowers, do not succeed, suit poppies, snapdragons, and similar varieties admirably. If phlox drummondi seeds were not sown last month in well drained pans, the work should be done at once, each seed being pressed into the soil quite an inch from its neighbours, and the pans or boxes being stood in a gentle heat. Perennial phlox should also be started this month under similar conditions. The seedlings will be pricked out as early as they are large enough to handle, preparatory to being hardened off, and planted out a foot apart. Start Zinnia seeds quite at the end of the month, or better still early in April, in pots of loam sand, and leaf mould, in a tem- perature of 55 or 60 degrees. All sorts of mari- golds can be sown at once in gentle heat, the seedlings being pricked out in pans or boxes, to be eventually planted out in May. A dry season shows the full value of these flowers, which continue to produce abundant blossoms until they are destroyed by frost. Marvel of Peru seeds, started now in moderate heat, will produce strong young plants very soon, if pricking out be attended to. Pot gloxina bulbs in a compost of peaty loam and sand, and stand the pots in the shade in the greenhouse. E. KEMP TOOGOOD, F.R.H.S., pro Toogood and Sons, The Royal Seed Establishment, Southampton.


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