The Cottage Gardener 4(80): 18-19 (April 11, 1850)

BEDDING PLANTS
D. Beaton

SCARLET GERANIUMS.—Specimens of two soils from Sussex were lately analysed by Professor Way, the Consulting Chemist to the English Agricultural Society, and found by him to be "exactly alike," both in their mechanical and chemical properties; yet the two samples were respectively from the best and from the worst wheat land in the county. This is sufficiently curious, if not puzzling; but not more so, I think, than that two plants raised from seeds out of one pod should vary so much in their natures, that one of them refuses to bloom freely, or even to put out its leaves kindly, in the same bed, or on the same kind of soil, where the other flourishes in all the beauty of its native race. Yet such is a fact, which certain seedlings of Scarlet geraniums have clearly established, and of which I have often remarked in these pages. Of these scarlet geraniums for flower-beds I said enough last autumn, but to those new readers who may not have that part of the work, their names may be acceptable. Shrubland Scarlet is the strongest of them all, and has the largest truss. Smith's Emperor and Superb, Prince of Wales, and several other names are also given to seedlings of this variety which never fail to come true from seeds. I have reared hundreds of them from seeds, but never saw any variation, except in the leaf. The next largest trusser is a new one, sold last year by Mr. Ayres, of Blackheath, called The Gem of Scarlets. Conway's Royalist and Frost's Compactum are the two next largest trussers, both of them being well horse-shoe marked in the leaf. The Royalist is, indeed, the best "horse-shoe" geranium I have seen. Our seedling Punch is a far better bedder and trusser than either of the above, except the Shrubland Scarlet, on our light soil, but on rich or heavy land it does no good. Nine or ten celebrated seedlings have passed through my hands, which do remarkably well in the places where they originated, and in many other localities, but I failed to establish them here. Tom Thumb is one of the number. On the whole, therefore, to give a good list of scarlet geraniums would be as likely to disappoint as to be of general use.

I have often said, one can hardly have too many scarlet geraniums; and I only know of one bed in a good flower-garden where they come amiss, and that is in the centre bed of a regular figure of any shape where the rest of the beds come all round it. No matter what beautiful plants and flowers may occupy the rest of the beds, the eye will pass over them and rest on the brilliancy of the centre mass. Besides, some shades of pink and purple, which might occupy any of the beds next the centre one, would be neutralised by the scarlet in it; a neutral bed should always occupy the centre round which the chief colours in flower-garden plants are to be arranged; and for such a centre bed I know of no plant more suitable than Mangle's Variegated Geranium. The flowers of this are small, and of a light pink shade, but the whiteness of the leaves drown the pink colour so far as to establish a neutral bed; and any colour may be placed next to this bed without imparing its strength, and yet we cannot call it a white bed. The old Bouvardia and the Zauchsneria would pass for small scarlet beds, and so might the old Alonsoa; but where scarlet verbenas and geraniums are much used, these things are too sober or subdued colours for a good arrangement of tints; and they are only fit for a miscellaneous assemblage of beds where no decided system of arranging the colours is attempted.

PURPLE.—I find this colour the most difficult to represent properly, either in shades of purple or strictly as a distinct colour. We have not a single true purple verbena yet worth planting as such, but they furnish abundance of shades. I thought, from a figure and description of the Royal Purple Verbena in "The Florist," that at last the desideratum was supplied, but I was deceived; and Walton's Emma is still the best purple verbena we have for a bed, but it is too dark for a real purple. The next best purple is Heloise, a beautiful bedding verbena, but still not a true purple. Plant either of these two best purple verbenas alongside of the light purple variety of the American groundsel, or the petunia, nearest to that colour, and you will soon see the reason I have for saying that we have no real purple amongst the verbenas. The original red or purple petunia, P. phoenicea, has not yet been improved on in colour for a bed in that family, though we have several as good and many better ones with darker or lighter shades of purple; but we have nothing better than a petunia that will do for a bed to last out the season.

We do not, in these days, call a plant fit for a flower-garden because it is a beautiful mass of colour while it lasts, which may not be longer than from a month to six weeks, unless it has other properties equally valuable in the eyes of a flower-gardener. One of the most essential secondary qualities of a flower-garden plant is to have creeping or very numerous fibrous roots, so as to enable the planter to remove it from place to place, either in the reserve garden before a place is open for it in the flower-garden, or from the flower-bed after it has done flowering. People who know little of these things will sit down and write you a fine story about the "facilities in these our days" for keeping up a succession of bloom, for a whole season, anywhere; all that you have to do is to remove everything as fast as it gets out of bloom, and fill up its place with something else brought forward on purpose in pots, or in the reserve garden; and really on paper it does seem very easy to do all this. But having for the last ten years paid particular attention to this branch of gardening—as much so, indeed, as any gardener in this country, and having also as much money allowed for carrying out my plans as most gardeners—I can safely repeat that this is the most difficult branch of our art, and the least understood by all our writers on gardening, mysolf among the number. The most successful results at flower-gardening are to be obtained by the least number of plants, provided that as many are used as will give all the principal colours of scarlet, purple, pink, blue, yellow, lilac, and white.

The most dwarf purple-flowering plant for this kind of gardening is verbena Sabina; and though not a good purple, it is still a very useful plant for the smallest bed. The best contrast to it in another shade of purple is Lobelia unidentata, also a very low plant for little beds. Lantana Sellowii is a reddish purple plant, extremely rich in a bed; and the same plants may be taken up on the approach of frost, and used for four or five years in succession. It seeds freely, can be got by cuttings as easily as a verbena, and delights in the richest soil if it is light. There should be a bed or two of this Lantana in every good flower-garden. Phlox Drummondi—There are two or three good shades of purple to be had from this beautiful annual, which is as good as any perennial for the flower-garden, as it blooms on from the end of June until cut by the frost. Where great stress is laid on having the best shades of colour, a few of the desired tints of this phlox ought to be preserved in pots, and propagated in the spring from cuttings. Indeed, this is the best way to deal with all the best varieties of it; and some of them are extremely pretty. But, in general, a packet of seeds will furnish a good bed. I sow this about the first week in April, in a little heat, for the seedlings do not rise so freely in strong heat. The old Verbena venosa is a good purple, but, like some of the purple petunias, the plant itself is coarse. If it is not quite hardy, it is the next thing to it, and that is a great recommendation. The best way to manage it for the flower-garden, is to fork out the roots every spring when the beds are being dressed; to cut them into six-inch lengths; and, after trenching the bed, to plant these pieces rather thickly.

COMBINATION OF COLOURS.—This verbena exemplifies, in a high degree, what I said about the necessity of taking the tint of the leaves into account iu arranging colours in a flower-garden. Few would believe that a bright scarlet and a good purple would answer well together in the same bed, because the scarlet would be so apt to neutralise the purple. Thus, if you plant an equal quantity of the best scarlet verbena with Emma or Heloise, the best purple ones of the same creeping habit, you will find that two good colours are completely spoiled, or, at any rate, that the scarlet will carry the palm. If it were possible to mix a white verbena along with these, so that there would be one-third more white flowers than of scarlet and purple ones, an extremely pretty bed would be the result; but such arrangements can only be managed with cut flowers, and that is the easiest way to learn how to harmonise or contrast colours for beds. It is ten times easier and more safe than studying the colours from printed arrangements; and the way to do it is as follows:—Take the lid of an old box (the larger it is the better) and lay an inch of earth all over it of a darkish colour. I have used sand for this purpose, but it is treacherous; as the white or yellow sand gives the effect of its shade to the composition —dark brown loam is the best. Then, on a fine sunny day in summer, lay the board or lid on a plot of grass, or on a gravel walk, according as the flower-beds may be on the grass or surrounded by gravel. Take the flowers of two or more plants you wish to mix together, and some of the leaves of each plant; then make a flower-bed by sticking the flowers in the mould on the board, and a few leaves along with each flower or bunch of flowers. Now, about mid-day, step back three yards from your model bed, with the sun behind you, and if you see no fault in your composition, walk round to the opposite point, and look at it against the sun; if you are still satisfied, leave it till four, or half-past four, in the afternoon, and then look at it from the same points as before. The sun will then be striking sideways against the colours, and if there is any defect in the arrangement, it is sure to come out now. Yet be in no hurry to give it up—look at it next day from the same points between ten and eleven o'clock in the forenoon; and this should be repeated on a cloudy day before a final judgment is passed. It is unnecessary to observe that the colours may be arranged in any way one pleases on this board; but, in all cases, the leaves of the plants which produce the colours must be used, and why, I shall give an example next week.

D. BEATON

The Cottage Gardener 4(81): 32-34 (April 18, 1859)

BEDDING PLANTS
D. Beaton

Verbena venosa.—With this plant I finished my notes last week, and before I dismiss this old and much neglected bedder, I shall recommend a way of using it in a mixed flower-garden, which, if I mistake not, will insure its being retained as a permanent plant, and not only that, but make the most interesting bed by the help of it that any one can use. I have had it the same way here for the last seven years, and I do not remember any one who has seen it that was not much struck with the beauty and novelty of that style of planting—I mean the mixed style of planting single beds, without reference to other beds in the neighbourhood—like the two Clarkias, which I have so often alluded to. I have another reason for bringing it forward to-day, to which I made some allusion last week, and that is, to shew how necessary it is to pay attention to the shade of green in the leaves of such plants as are recommended to be planted near each other, either for the harmony or for the contrast of their flowers. A want of this consideration is as apparent in all the arrangements that I have read of, as the disparity of the heights of many of the plants that are said to associate and assist each other in producing striking effects; and the reason I have in view in making these remarks, is "to shew cause" why I have declined to recommend to some of our readers how to plant certain arrangements of beds of which they sent sketches. When my own limited practice enables me to see glaring faults in the arrangements of those great masters, to whom I usually look up for instruction and advice, I cannot take any other view of the subject than that it is a most difficult one—even if I could not attest the fact from experience. Besides, I know several flower-gardens of note that no one can plant in such a manner as to produce a good whole, owing to the disposition of the beds with reference to the principal walks, and, also, for the want of some determined plan as to the different sizes of the beds themselves. It is thought by architects and landscape gardeners an easy matter to form a plan of a combination of flower-beds to suit a given locality; and one would think that a good draughtsman, with an artist's eye, could find little difficulty in laying down such a plan; and ho might believe the same thing, and make his plan accordingly; yet the chances are, that when his beds are planted in the most judicious manner, or in the best possible order, the colours and sizes of the plants will admit of, the whole composition may not come up to the rank of a third-rate attempt. The truth is, unless one has such a thorough knowledge of all the plants that are suitable to form a good composition when combined together in various ways, as that he can tell you in the dead of winter their real colours, the tint of their leaves, their heights in rich and in poor soil, the time they usually come into and go out of bloom in a wet and in a dry season, no matter how proficient he may be in the art of drawing plans, he is not in a condition to lay down ten beds together without risking the danger of palpable mistakes. But I have said enough to warrant me in excusing myself from advising how to plant flower-beds which I never saw; and now we shall plant a bed with Verbena venosa, having deep purple flowers in upright spikes, and with dark green leaves. The plants, or rather the underground runners, we shall place at about a foot apart every way, and next May all the spaces between the verbena plants will be planted with a bright scarlet flowering plant; and, as a matter of course, these scarlet flowers will neutralise the effect of the purple ones; and so undoubtedly would be the case, provided the leaves of the scarlet flowering plant were of nearly the same tint as those of the verbena; but the leaves of my second plant are more than one-half pure white: it is the Old Scarlet Variegated Geranium; and the effect of these two plants thus managed I shall describe in the words of a gentleman whom I found one day admiring it a few years back: "By the bye, I have just written to her Grace the Duchess of —— to say that you have a flower-bed here which looks exactly like shot silk; I never saw such a charming bed!" Now, I hope all the old shrubbery borders in the country will be hunted out at once for this Verbena venosa, for it has been turned out of the flowerbeds years since; and let all the nurserymen in the country be laid siege to for variegated scarlet geraniums, to make "shot silk" beds with this next summer; for if we do not strike while the iron is hot, the half of us may forget the thing altogether before another season comes round. This bed should not be placed near the windows, nor where you come close to it before it can be observed; not but that it will bear close inspection, for the nearer you come to it the richer it looks; but when friends come to see the garden, and observe it at a distance, it will puzzle them to make out what plants you have got in it. "What, in the name of goodness, have you got yonder?" is a common expression with strangers on viewing this bed at a distance; and away they run across the grass, wet or no wet; and the next observation you hear is, "Dear me, who would have thought that such common plants should produce this striking effect!" This bed, or one on the same principle—that is, having a rich display but not one decided colour—is by far the most suitable for a bed forming a common centre to a set of beds, as No. 1 in the annexed group; a very general way of forming clusters of beds, or small flower-gardens; not in circles or of the same size, however, as I have shewn them for the sake of simplicity; none of such beds need necessarily be a circle. In nine cases out of ten you see the centre bed in these groups planted with scarlet geraniums or scarlet verbenas, and their glaring brilliancy kills the effect of most of the colours in the other beds, unless, indeed, the other distinct colours in bedding plants, as blue, purple, yellow, and pink, are excluded, and white, light lilac, and gray, be used instead round the scarlet; but that could only be done in a very large garden, to exemplify one distinct kind of group, where many other ways of arranging flower-beds were adopted. In small gardens I like to see all the best and gayest colours brought together, and therefore the effect of the whole should not be lessened or even marred by placing the most glaring colour in the middle. I have been thus led to break in on the plan I proposed, of going on with the distinct colours before I said anything of mixed and shaded beds, by a correspondent (H.W.), who is answered at page 14. He sent a plan of his garden, which shewed the beds arranged from a central one; and he proposed to follow the common herd, and plant his master bed with scarlet geraniums. I shall, therefore, keep to these mixed beds a little longer.

PURPLE.—For the want of a real good purple among the verbenas I have tried many of them mixed, to see if I could make a better purple out of two or three shades of them, like the way of improving the scarlet ones, but I cannot boast much of these attempts. My standard plant for a real good purple is the lighter variety of the two purple Senecios, or American Groundsel. The very dark purple Senecio can only be matched by the dark purple verbenas; and with the exception of a few purple Petunias, I know so few plants that will match in colour with the light variety of Senecio, that I shall make a present of this volume of THE COTTAGE GARDENER  to any one who will point out to me two leading plants exactly of the same purple, not to exceed twenty inches in height, nor be much lower than ten inches, and to flower from the middle or end of June to the end of September; Petunias to be excepted. Verbena Charwoodii is one of the best purple bedders, after Emma and Heloise; but there is a shade of red in it which is against it for a good purple. I have tried many of the dark crimson verbenas with it in equal proportions, but still I did not obtain a good purple bed; verbenas Louis Phillip and Barkerii were the only two which seemed to answer best with Charwoodii. It is not possible to make out how any verbenas would mix in a bed by putting cut flowers of them together for trial: they must be seen growing together to judge of the eflect properly, as the habit and strength of verbenas are so different from each other.

One more mixed bed and I have done with them to-day. Of all the neutral plants to be used in beds where a striking colour would not answer, the Heliotrope, or "Cherry-pie," is the best, for many reasons. Every one likes the perfume of it. It is one of the easiest plants to keep in winter; and comes from cuttings in the spring as easily as a verbena or fuchsia; and it lasts in flower till the frost cuts it; and it does not require rich soil. The only fault of it is, that it produces too many leaves, so that the bed looks too green. I had overcome this difficulty last season for the first time, and the plan was much praised. I tried four kinds of those verbenas whose flowers are of the same grayish colour as those of the heliotrope, and one called Duchesse d'Aumaule is the best of them. No one who plants a bed of Heliotrope should omit planting an equal number of plants of this verbena along with it. The verbena flowers will stand as four to one of the heliotrope, and a stranger could hardly detect the mixture at a yard's distance, and if he did there could be no harm. Those who object to the Heliotrope for a bed, might try this plan. The heliotrope will overrun the verbena in such a way that its shoots and leaves can hardly be seen, but the verbena's flower-stalks will push up regularly all over the bed.

D. BEATON

The Cottage Gardener 4(94): 236-238 (July 18, 1850)

D. Beaton

FLOWER-GARDENERS who aspire to excel in their calling, have two very strong temptations to withstand from this time to the end of September. In the first place, we all of us know that certain seedling varieties of choice plants have a strong tendency to depart from those forms or colours for which we chiefly admire them, and hence are difficult to preserve from seeds true to those points for which we cultivate them. We all acknowledge this difficulty, and yet we do not, in most instances, make proper allowance to the seedsmen for it, but rather look on them as if they were endowed with some magic spell by which they ought to overcome such natural tendencies in their seed gardens. Now comes the first temptation. We have a beautiful flowerbed in full bloom, aud all from seeds which are variable in their nature—but this time the plants turn out just to the very tint desired: and if the seedsmen would but engage to supply samples so true as these for the future, who would go to the trouble of saving doubtful seeds? Seedsmen, however, may make what arrangements they think best, but they cannot always ensure many kinds of seeds to turn out quite as we, or they, want them; and, therefore, it is that we are now tempted to let a certain bed ran to seed rather than hazard the chance of a failure another season. Yet, it goes a good way against the grain to see a choice flower-garden converted into a seed nursery, even to the extent of one single bed. But what is to be done in such cases is more than I can tell. If I had a bed, or a row, or even a patch, of true blue branching Larkspur, I would certainly let it ripen the seeds before I removed the plants, because I do not believe there is a single seedsman in Europe, or elsewhere, who can supply the genuine plant Yet, this fine annual finds a place in every third garden in the country; and I recollect the time when no larkspur of this tall kind was to be seen but the deep blue variety. But since the eight or nine varieties of it, of different tints, which are now to be met with in every fashionable flower-garden have come into competition with that old sort, the real blue branching larkspur can hardly be seen at all; what generally goes by that name is a purplish blue plant. The tall larkspurs being now in full beauty, any one who has a bed of them, and sees this, can easily put me right if I am in error; and, moreover, if two or three pods of seeds from a genuine variety could be sent to me by post at the same time, it would be a good way of convincing me how far I have been wrong. There are, or were some years since, two sorts of the plant I want—one with the open part of the flower light blue all round, and the bottom a deep dark blue, and the other, which is the best, is dark blue all over; but seeds from either can hardly be depended on if a tall larkspur of a different colour is so near that the bees, or the wind, can carry the pollen dust from one to the other. Others, no doubt, have some favourite flowers difficult to keep, or to obtain true from seeds, and so the temptation to save seeds under one's own eye goes the whole way round the circle. I believe it to be a natural law that, if plants are divested of their seed-vessels as fast as the flowers begin to fade, they will keep much longer in flower than is natural to them. At any rate, there is no question about the soundness of the principle as far as the generality of flower-garden plants are in question, therefore, from this time to the end of the season, seed-vessels or pods should be looked on in the same light as weeds. When a head, or a bunch of flowers, falls off or fades at once, there is very little trouble about the matter—the stalk is cut, and there is an end to it; but in others, as, for instance, Scarlet Geraniums and Lupines, some of the flowers die away, and the seed-vessels stick out like beaks or bean-pods long before some of the flowers on the same stalk are ready to open, so that it becomes a tedious and a delicate operation to keep a bed of these scarlets free from seed vessels. Of all the scarlets that I have seen. Compactum and Shrubland Scarlet are the two most free from forming seeds; but both have another failing just as bad, for the flowers in the centre of their trusses die away, and are decayed, or mouldy, before the outside flowers are ripe enough to open; therefore, to keep a large bed of any of this tribe in first-rate order, they must be looked over every two or three days, and the dead flowers, or the seed-vessels, cut out carefully with a sharp knife or pair of garden scissors; and the best scissors for all garden work that I have seen are those sold as Turner's Garden Scissors, which are manufactured by Mr. Turner, of Neepsend, Sheffield. They cut clean, like a good knife,—not a bruised cut as by the common work-basket scissors.

We grow many Lupines here, and our rule is to cut off the whole spike of flowers as soon as one-third of its length is faded at the bottom—an extravagant way, certainly, and might be improved on by taking hold of the top of the flower-spike with one hand, and rubbing off the bottom pods with the other; indeed, any way of saving the flowers, and at the same time the seeds, is a good plan. Writing about lupines, reminds me that we had it new one last year from a friend, of which kind we have a good stock this season, but it has hardly got into seed catalogues yet. It belongs to the tall section of annuals to which Lupinus mutabilis is referred, and might be taken for mutabilis or Crookshankii before it conies into bloom; but the colour is very different, being partly cream colour with a pinkish shade; we had it for a real pink lupine, but it is not so in reality; nevertheless, it makes a good marked variety, and lasts—like its relatives—till overtaken by a smart frost. These tall lupines are not grown half so much as their merit deserves—I mean the annuals of the mutabilis section; and from this time to the middle of August is the best time in the year to sow them, for one particular purpose, which is, to flower them as single specimens out on the grass—one plant in a place, three plants in another, and so on, as one might choose; or if a bank or large bed of them were planted like dahlias in such princely places as Chatsworth or Windsor Castle, the effect would be magnificent; but to have them in a sober way for more ordinary situations, a dozen of them got up now, or soon, and half starved in little pots singly through the autumn, would take up no more room in a dry pit or greenhouse than so many verbenas in single pots; and as soon as they began to move in the spring to be potted, and so encouraged to grow on and to be repotted once or twice more before the time of planting them out in May, they would become large bushes, such as one could hardly believe who has not seen the mode tried. Where there is head-room, one or two plants of them might be grown very large, just to see what good cultivation could effect before the time of planting them out; and should they even be coming into flower as early as the first of May, there would be no danger of their ceasing to bloom down to the end of October, particularly if their seed-pods are kept down. I should not be surprised to hear of a single annual lupine reaching the height of ten feet, and full and bushy in proportion; but for so large a plant, a very sheltered spot should be chosen, as a heavy wind would have great power on such a mass of succulent shoots and thin foliage. For common ordinary use they are not sown till the end of March, like other annuals.

The second great temptation is about making cuttings from choice geraniums. This is just the best time of the year to make cuttings of the whole race of flower-garden geraniums; but now that they are only in fine bloom after a struggle for existence, it seems hard to take off any cuttings yet. To have a fine stock of healthy plants, however, long before the winter sets in, we must begin to propagate early. Here we use as many geraniums as most people, and more kinds of them than any other place in the country. My catalogue of this class of geraniums contains 87 names, and I shall add half a dozen more to them this season. We also keep a propagating book, in which every plant we bed is entered, and the number of cuttings that are required is put after each name. These numbers are altered every season—except a few of what we call stock-plants—to suit the arrangement of the planting next season. Our first stock-plant of geraniums is our own scarlet seedling called Punch, and of it we annually root five thousand cuttings. This is the greatest number we strike of any one sort, and it is very seldom we put cuttings of these kinds of geraniums in pots, unless it is a very delicate or a rare sort which we can ensure better that way. The whole are rooted in the open ground, and full in the sun, and the hottest day in the year will not hinder our propagation when we once begin, and we never shade a geranium cutting. The vine and peach borders are generally the propagating beds, and it is a good old plan to put a slight coat of some light rich compost over these borders in July, when most of the liberal waterings are over for the season. The borders being first stirred with a fork to the depth of two or three inches, and then a couple of inches of the mulching compost is added. The whole is then raked, and the usual alley is marked out near the wall, and the place is ready for the cuttings. You begin at one end of the border, and plant the cuttings in rows across it, two inches between every cutting, and six inches between the rows. When two or three rows of cuttings are thus planted, and you see from the propagation book how many cuttings of that sort are to be struck this season, you can calculate what length of border will hold the whole of them; then measure off that length of the border, and then begin with the next kind, and so on for the whole collection, and by the time the propagation is finished, every sort will be found by itself. Besides the look of the thing, this is by far the best plan to ensure a systematic course of management. When a gardener first begins to propagate, the chances are that he cannot get more than a tenth of the number he requires, and not even that of many varieties, therefore, if he were to plant the first crop of cuttings in close succession on the border without leaving intervening spaces as above, he might certainly root all his stock, but they would be so huddled and mixed together as would render their management difficult. Strong and fast growing sorts would overrun the weaker ones, and some would require water much oftener than others, but if they are in close contact, how is he to proceed? and, moreover, if the propagator should forget to mark down in his book the numbers of cuttings he made at any one sitting, the whole must be counted over again; all this would look like hap-hazard.

For those who know very little of these things, I may now give the details. The border or open space of ground in a sunny aspect we shall suppose is ready, and I put most stress on having the place full in the sun, because half the world lie under a mistake on this head, and suppose that a north aspect is the best, which is, indeed, a very wrong notion. Then look over the bed or plants from which the cuttings are to be taken, and select carefully those shoots near the centre of the plant, or where they are most crowded; and in this early searching for cuttings you are to study "the look" of the plants rather than the number of cuttings, for if we "take the market on the day," we have plenty of opportunities yet for an abundant supply of them. Then, at this early period, be content with a few, and that few, if judiciously chosen, will rather improve the look of the plants, and enable them the sooner to extend sideways. The cuttings of strong growing scarlet geraniums may be six or seven inches long, as an average; three of their bottom leaves to be cut off, and the bottom of the cutting to be a clean cut just under a joint, or under the bottom leaf. Some people say that these cuttings should lay by a while to dry, so as that the fresh soil should not "damp them off,” but this is hardly necessary; the soil is dry enough to suck off any moisture that may be on the cut part, and a cutting in the open ground is not at all so likely to rot as one placed in a pot. Mark off the border with a line, or string tied to two sticks, or you may leave the line stretched across the bed or border, and plant the cuttings by the side of it, and then move it on for the next row, and so on. The surface of the border ought to be even, and the planter should stand or kneel on a piece of board rather than disturb the bed by his foot. About an inch deep will be the right depth to plant the cuttings, but less than that will do if the surface of the bed is a little firm. When the whole are planted, give them a slight watering to damp the leaves and settle the surface of the soil about the cuttings, but by no means give so much water as to reach to the bottom of the cuttings so early; indeed, we have planted thousand of these cuttings in hot weather without giving any water at all.

D. BEATON

Beaton Bibliography