The Ultimate Concise Gardening Guide

FANCY GARDENS.

Fancy gardens, with their paved pathways, pergolas, stone scats, sundials, &c, give opportunities for inventive genius on the part of the gardener in making the most of his space, both for practical gardening purposes and aesthetic satisfaction. Elaborate and ambitious schemes may be evolved, even in the restricted space of a suburban backyard, wherein the most unexpected of derelict domestic material may be called into requisition, and inevitable eyesores cunningly disguised. Within the confines of a back garden, 50 feet by 40 feet, an ingenious little formal garden may be created— the house itself screened by means of hedge or fencing and connected by a small lych-gate. The garden itself may be laid out in six beds of geometrical pattern, cut up by crazy pavements, and with a. rustic oak-tiled summer-house at the end furthest from the house, in a design to match the lych-gate. Such eyesores as tool-sheds, dustbins, &c, are screened from view, and even the screening made to fit the picture. Old tubs, kerosene tins, &c, disguised with coats of paint, may be made to serve a useful and artistic purpose. The stump of an old tree, a butter tub, or a few large pieces of nagging, may be fashioned into attractive seats.

Any number of adjuncts to the artistic amenities of the garden— sundials, figures, bird-baths, &c, —may be purchased from the stores, but the true gardener’s joy is in the evolution of an aesthetic effect, entirely constructed from simple materials close at hand.

FLOWER GROWING.

The object of every amateur gardener is to grow flowers, and many are sadly disillusioned to find that it is not sufficient to buy a packet of (optimistically described) seeds, and to stick them in the ground.

Much depends upon the type of soil available. A soil should be light and friable, but different flowers ilourish in widely dissimilar soils—roses prefer a clay earth, auriculas like a sandy soil, crocuses thrive in a mellow loam, and so on. The effects oi different manures on the chemistry of the soil should be studied, in order to give the right dressings to suit the various types of flowers required. Again, whilst some varieties are hardy and will grow almost anywhere, most flowers require plenty of sun, water and protection from the more piercing winds.

Flowering plants are divided into Annuals, Biennials and Perennials. Annuals are plants which are sown the same year as they flower and die. Biennials are sown one year and flower the next. Perennials live for a number of years.

The following are a few hints for the amateur flower gardener: The ordinary tools required for a small garden are a spade, fork, hoe, rake, shears, mower, roller, secateur (for cutting flowers) and a trowel. To these should be added a small shallow box for planting seedlings, and a glass forcing frame, which can be easily constructed from an old box and a few pieces of glass.

Always well rake the seed bed and get away all stones, caked pieces of earth and other lumpy fragments, leaving nothing but the finest grains of earth. If this is not done, the tiny seeds cannot be surrounded on all sides with earth, and growth is hindered. It is for this reason that the most minute seeds are sown in silver sand, this being exceedingly fine. Do not sow seeds in wet weather, when it is impossible to get the soil to the required fineness. When seeds are sown, do not swamp with water; this washes them into out-of-the-way corners. Sow low down in the soil, or near to the surface, as instructed on the packet containing the seeds. Generally, seeds put in a cold frame should be kept in a closed atmosphere for a while; the air should later be admitted when the weather is warm. Be careful not to leave the frame open all night by mistake.

When sand is mentioned as a soil-medium in sowing and potting, silver sand is always implied.

When transplanting, water seedlings an hour before moving them. This will make it easier to get the plants up with a good piece of earth. The roots will thus be disturbed the less. In raising cuttings, give them care and attention regularly; do not lavish time on them at one period and neglect them at another.

Stake such plants out as need it, early—do not wait until the stems have grown twisted. Stake without strangling. Use tarred twine, string looks untidy.

Remove all dying blooms as soon as possible. This will ensure further blooming and more flowers.

Never put crude manure where it can touch the roots, it will burn them. Never put a top dressing to a young plant unless directed.

Do not forget about the garden in the winter: it is the careful gardener’s busy season. Never dig the soil when it is chilled with frost or snow; the turning-in of such ground will keep it cold for many weeks.

Sun Screening.

By screening plants at selected intervals of daylight, changes of colour are attained without any cross-breeding, and yellows, scarlets and crimsons transform into purples, as well as into one another. With the changes in colour, marked changes in foliage and scent occur. Of twelve screened poppy plants, eleven became double, and only one remained single. GARDENING CALENDAR.

January: Whilst the weather is wet, preparations should be made indoors for future work. When the weather is propitious, trenching, manuring and digging in the kitchen garden should be completed and flower borders made and renewed—this should be done in mild weather. Strike chrysanthemum cuttings under glass. Prune and plant gooseberries, currant, fruit trees and shrubs. Cut down and re-pot fuchsias. Sow melons and cucumbers in hot-beds. Plant potatoes in frames. Cover rhubarb and seakale for blanching, surround them with manure, litter, &c. Rose forcing may start. Tulip beds may be matted. Keep the greenhouse temperature between 40 and 50 degrees throughout the month. Christmas roses are due, and towards the middle of the month, primroses and snowdrops.

February: Carnations, auriculas, sweet william, &c, may be exposed as the month grows warmer, but do not water too much. Borders, gooseberries and strawberries should be manured. Prune fruit trees. Sow cabbages and leeks. Plant raspberries. Potato sets should be exposed to the light and picked over. Herbs should be sown towards the end of the month. Sow peas and lettuces and cover with straw. Plant in hot-beds cauliflowers and other delicate vegetables.

March: Trim hedges, stake out shrubs and bushes and tie up. Plant out border flowers. Sow artichokes, onions, radishes, savoys, and vegetables generally. Sow hardy annuals in beds, but be careful of the March winds and frost where tulips and other early blossoms are concerned. Start grafting trees. A little more watering can be done in the greenhouse. Make good use of the hot-bed this month.

April: Mowing and rolling of grass lawns. Remove caterpillars. Plant out shrubs that have been sheltered during the winter. Hoe industriously to keep down weeds. Continue potato planting. Take care of cuttings in the greenhouse and remove all dead leaves, &c. Spring flower seeds may now be sown. Sow vegetables for succession.

May: Put in all finishing touches to the flower-garden ready for summer display. Earth up potatoes, damp the beds of mushrooms. Thin out fruit. Pick off caterpillars from small fruit bushes. Sow salads, transplant cabbages. Take up bulbous roots. Syringe roses. Ventilate cucumber-frames. Bed out in greenhouses. Thin out growing annuals, and pot out tender annuals. Sow broccoli and beans for next spring, and cauliflowers for this winter.

June: Mushroom beds must be re-spawned. Weed and thin out young vegetables. Earth up late potatoes and remove buds from growing vines, preserving only the likeliest shoots. If herbs have attained maturity, pick dry and bottle. It will soon be time to turn camellias and azaleas, &c, into the open for hardening, therefore encourage their growth in the greenhouse with moist heat, &c. Plant out all vegetables and plants from slips, also seedlings. Pot ariculas and put in shady spot. Stocks may now be planted for the spring. Plant annuals in borders. Indoor tomatoes should be placed in sunny positions.

July: This is the month for rose-budding. Syringe for greenfly, and train climbers, pillars and ramblers. When the bulbous plants go out of flower,’ take up immediately. Clip borders and hedges. Fruit trees should be netted. Remove earwigs from dahlias, &c, by shaking them over a bucket of hot water, when the weather is dry. Whitewash greenhouse glass to prevent excessive heat: ventilate freely. Tie up lettuces, and earth celery. If the weather is very dry use hand-fork copiously and extensive mulching. Lift shallots, tie up and dry. Sow perennials and biennials indoors, and transplant advanced seedlings to permanent quarters.

August: Plant out winter crops. Lift potato crops as they ripen. Onions that have developed should have leaves bent over to hasten ripening. Sow early dwarf cabbages for spring. Strawberries should be planted out. Give chrysanthemums in pots plenty of water and occasional dilute manure as they bud. Remember that judicious dis-budding of these, and of dahlias, roses and sweet peas, ensures bigger and better blooms. Just before watering (or rain) stir in a little fertiliser or crumbly manure over the roots of roses and other late flowering plants. Sow cauliflowers for early spring supplies, under glass. Cut out old wood from rambler-roses to encourage new shoots. Watering and weeding should be a daily process.

September : Plant crocuses and evergreens. Earth up celery. Clear up falling leaves unremittingly. Cut away side-shoots and tie in dahlias. Lift onions, transplant lettuces into frames, and thin spinach. Plant cuttings of violas, pansies, &c., in boxes, water in, and shade from strong sunlight till tips begin to show. Plant out savoys, coleworts, winter lettuce and other hardy greens. Set traps for wasps—jam-pots half filled with old ale or syrup and water. These should be hung on the lower branches of the fruit trees. Slugs become troublesome this month; a mixture of Paris green and moistened and sweetened bran, should be sprinkled where they abound. Apples for keeping should be allowed to hang as long as possible, and then be carefully laid away in storage.

October : From the flower-beds remove all summer flowers that have bloomed, and substitute hardier species. If the weather has been wet, the lawn will have a strong enough growth to require continuance of mowing. Leave the short tops of grass to manure the ground, and have some good lawn mixture raked into the bare patches with a covering of light soil, then roll well: Dead leaves and vegetable refuse should be raked into a corner, with an occasional layer of earth to assist decomposition. This is useful for potting purposes. It should be turned over occasionally during the winter. When the main stems of the dahlias begin to blacken, cut them down and store tubers away after well drying. Late wallflowers may be planted out in their quarters. It is a good thing to intersperse daffodils with them. Any tomatoes not ripened should be picked and made into chutney or placed in a warm part of the kitchen to mature. Lift remaining potatoes, carrots and turnips. Pinch out runners from established strawberry beds. Keep clear of dead leaves.

November : Sow sweet peas and the garden variety for early crops. Remember to deep ditch or trench all vacant ground, leaving it rough for frost and rains to sweeten as winter arrives. Bulbs in pots that show plenty of leaf should now be taken into the greenhouse, or moved to sunnier, warmer positions in it, if flowers are required for Christmas. Form new raspberry beds by re-planting suckers taken at some distance from the parent canes. Thin out exhausted wood from peach trees, leaving young wood to bear next year. Complete beds for asparagus and artichokes. Plant dried roots of border flowers. Prune hardy trees and plant stocks of fruit trees. Rhubarb may now be planted indoors. May-flowering tulips or Spanish and English iris, lilies of the valley and deciduous trees and shrubs may still be planted out of doors.

December : Outdoor attention should be concentrated on protecting subjects, not completely hardy, from inclement weather. Ground likely to be vacant for some months should be limed— just a light scattering—in order to destroy any pests. Make up a hot-bed of decaying vegetable matter, to a depth of three feet for early salad plants grown under a frame. Concentrate on pruning and digging over ground as it becomes vacant, and re-planting herbaceous beds and borders. When cutting greens in the kitchen garden, always choose the best matured, with firmest hearts, as these are more likely to be spoilt by frost than the open-hearted leafy ones. Pull the earth round the stems of young cabbages, &c, to prevent them being shaken loose by the wind. If well-rotted manure is available it may be scattered over the thinnish patches of the lawn. Cucumbers, and even tomatoes may be sown in heat for early fruiting under glass. Cover bulbous roots with matting. Dress flower borders. Plant gooseberry, currant and pear trees. LANDSCAPE GARDENING.

This is a very ambitious form of gardening, quite outside the scope of the ordinary individual. It is in fact, a very highly specialized and highly paid profession. The services of the skilled landscape gardener are called into requisition for the laying out of estates, parks and garden cities, and even to advise upon town-planning schemes.

As the name implies, this art consists in reproducing artificially, and under the best conditions, the effect of natural country surroundings, by means of woods, streams, ponds and small lakes. and discreetly arranged patches of wilderness. Obviously, extensive areas are required for laying out in this manner, and when attempted on a small scale, the result is invariably cramped, overcrowded, and highly artificial.

Courses in the profession of Landscape Gardening may be taken at any Agricultural College, the degree granted being Fellow of the the Royal Horticultural Society (F.R.H.S.).

ORNAMENTAL SHRUBBERIES.

It is difficult to think of any garden scheme into the general plan of which shrubs of some kind cannot be introduced with pleasing effect. They have their place in the lay-out of every type, from the tasteful but diminutive flower-garden of the modern suburb to the formal ‘period’ garden with its elaborate topiary work arches, hedges and ‘Noah’s Ark’ trees. In a small garden, where flowering annuals and perennials enter largely into one’s arrangements, a number of shrubs produce a somewhat crowded appearance, but the smallest garden can find space for, say, the pretty yellow winter jasmine, or the delicately perfumed woodbine. Where orchards are also kept, it is worth consideration that the the smaller ornamental flowering shrubs, as opposed to the thick foliaged evergreen types, do not afford nesting sites for blackbirds and song-thrushes (those sworn enemies of the fruit farmer), whilst still giving ample scope for the beautiful little chiff-chaffs and yellow warbler.

Ornamental and flowering shrubs may be divided into three categories—evergreen, deciduous and climbing plants. The latter section of course, contains the two former ones.

Climbing plants are generally harmonious in any garden, and are adaptable in the matter of soil and situation. Roses are, of course, shrubs, and in the climbing roses we have the loveliest of all plants for pergola and screen uses. Roses, however, are dealt with in a later section.

On trellis, pergola and archway, the lovely honeysuckle has few equals for free growth and beauty of flower and foliage. It is both deciduous and evergreen, according to species, and generally thrives best in a good deep loam, and in a position where there is a fair amount of sunlight. The jasmines are climbing shrubs with sweet-scented flowers, and the yellow winter jasmine is one of the few reliable outdoor winter flowering plants we have in this country. The forsythias are very similar, often being mistaken for jasmines.

In most of the southern and midland shires the blue passion flower will do well, when once established in well sheltered positions. The curious flowers appear in July. This plant is remarkably well su ited for cither trellis or wall. The ivy family, embracing a vast variety, are all excellent climbers, and make delightful screens.

The gorgeous magnolia appears as a bush, and also as a trailing plant, if given a sunny wall to climb. The deliciously perfumed double flowers produce much more freely when trained in this manner than as a- bush.

The self – clinging Virginian creeper is deciduous, and appears at its best in the late autumn when the leaves have changed to a lovely red-bronze. The wistaria, with its racemes of pale mauve flowers, is one of the most attractive of pergola climbers.

Among the actual bush-shrubs may be mentioned the Japanese maple with its rich dark crimson leaves, the various hollies, the variegated laurel, flowering plum, the common privet, Japanese spindle and the copper beach and the golden-leafed poplar. These last grow into large trees in maturity, but they are generally included amongst the foliage shrubs.

Of the flowering shrubs the rhododendrons are undoubtedly the most popular, with their kinsmen, the azaleas. There are dozens of varieties of these shrubs, all beautiful, and mostly hardy. Other beautiful flowering shrubs include the guelder rose, blue periwinkle, flowering cherries and currants, and the ubiquitous hawthorns.

In planning a shrubbery it should be remembered that most of the species are but half-cultivated wildlings, taken from the hedgerow or woodland, and as keen to get back again as any caged bird; care must, therefore, be taken to keep them within bounds, and to scotch any attempts at straggling. Pruning and clipping must not be undertaken arbitrarily—a gardener’s calendar should be consulted as to the appropriate time and manner of thus treating.

Topiary.

The art of topiary consists in training and clipping certain close-growing shrubs into ornamental shapes of animals, birds, arches and conventional designs. This art was introduced from the Continent in the 15th century, and reached the zenith of its popularity in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Hence, in the present craze for ‘period’ decoration in every form of ornament, topiary is fast regaining its popularity.

The best shrubs for treatment in this manner are the various members of the box family; they are cheap and easily trained—indeed, sometimes the ‘rough’ shrubs can be gradually clipped into the required design. The common yew is also occasionally used, as also are the various kinds of laurel.

Topiary work is seen to best advantage over stretches of velvety lawn and crazy paving, with an occasional sundial or bit of statuary as an accompaniment. ROCK GARDENING.

The old-fashioned rock garden of our parents, which was practically nothing more than a heap of stones bearing no relation to its surroundings, is mercifully obsolete. The key-note of modern rock-gardening is appropriateness. The scheme must fit into the picture, either as the basis of an Alpine bank, a hillside garden, as a dry wall garden in shelving steps, or as an accessory to a water-garden. The schemes thus discreetly carried will be disguised, or toned down, with Alpine plants, ferns and ornamental grasses, thus becoming, instead of the object, merely an attractive accessory of a scheme.

An ingenious Alpine dell was constructed within an area of 30 by 20 feet by the simple process of digging an irregular trench about two or three feet wide, the earth thrown up, sloping away to the level (but not dead level), on each side farthest from the trench. A dry bed of rock was then set in the bottom of the trench, and the gentle gradient down from the garden level was laid with irregularly placed flat rocks to prevent the wearing down of the banks by the weather. In process of time, this Alpine garden became overgrown by creeping sandwort and yellow stonecrop, its golden glory vying with the delightful little Cheddar pink, forming a brave show above its cushions of bright green leaves. ROSE GROWING.

Roses will grow anywhere provided good soil, plenty of sunshine and pure air are available, ruling out of consideration such aspects as are overhung by large leafy trees. The position being determined, proper drainage must be arranged. Stagnation must be avoided and if a subsoil of stiff nature is present, raise the surface at least a foot by providing a mound of good loamy earth. Previous to doing this, the ground should be broken up and dug to a depth of at least two feet, as the roots require a good and deep run. While so doing, the ground should be mixed with ample stable manure and basic slag in the quantity of lb. per square yard. Leaf-mould and any other vegetable refuse free from eggs of pests may also be worked in with some bone manure. Where the ground is sandy and liable to become too dry, the introduction of broken-up clay will work wonders. Of course, all manurial compounds must be buried deep down away from the surface roots. All this should be done about a month before the roses are planted. If they arrive from the grower in frosty weather do not plant at once, but put them just as they are sent in a cool cellar away from frost and heat. Should they arrive during ordinary weather before there has been time to make up the beds, heel them in a temporary hole and leave until required. Now, as to planting: Dig the hole and shorten the shoots and stems (not the roots) to about half their length. Make the hole large enough to take all the root-stock without twisting and be careful to spread out every ‘thread’ to its natural limits. Determine the depth of planting by seeing that the lowest branch comes just above the ground. When the position has been properly arranged, fill in the earth and press well home. If the rose has a natural stem liable to be swayed by wind, put in a stake and make it absolutely firm, but do not strangle the stem. The ground may settle and the stake may not and the tie-loops will then drag. Tie the stake tightly, but only loop it round the stem. With regard to pruning : The first point is to trim in a way to make a shapely plant; the second, so as to leave a bud at the tip of the shoot which faces outwards and not inwards; the third, to check such growth as may rob the plant of too much energy; the fourth, to prevent a first year’s plant from growing too much. Readers requiring further instructions should consult ‘The Gardeners’ Weekly Guide,’ published by Messrs. Foulsham. VEGETABLE AND FRUIT GROWING.

The cultivation of fruit and vegetables may be both a pleasurable pastime and a profitable undertaking. But viewed from a purely commercial standpoint it is important that the grower should be the first in the field in quality, as well as when the supplies are available for the market.

Situation and Soil.

The situation of a piece of ground that is to be used for the production of fruit or vegetables has much to do with the types most easily cultivated, but preparation of the soil and the use of windscreens in the form of hedges, brick walls, &c, may overcome the natural disadvantages of the place.

By far the majority of crops, both fruit and vegetable, require a well-drained soil, or at least ground that does not become waterlogged, although quince, celery and watercress are notable exceptions. When the land is without much natural slope and inclined to be heavy, some sort of drainage must be contrived before cultivation is attempted.

All land under cultivation should be as deeply dug as possible at least once yearly. On clay land, digging is more easily performed with a fork, but this tool, handy as it is in the garden, should not be used for deep digging, unless the land is so wet that it remains in lumps. On lighter or drier land, a good deep spade should be used. A hand cultivator, or a deep-toothed rake, should be used for preparing the soil for seed-sowing. Where manures are necessary as surface dressings they may be dug in when the land is forked over.

Vegetables.

Beans and Peas: Both these vegetables prefer a light, warm, deeply dug soil, with plenty of well-rotted stable manure worked into it. Beans are sown singly where they are to grow, about 8 to 10 inches apart, in regular lines, but peas should be sprinkled in, not too closely. Size of pods are improved by thinning out while they are small, leaving only the well-shaped pods. Watering in dry weather with weak liquid manure also improves the size.

Cabbages: All the cabbage family prefer a well-drained and manured loamy soil, and, whilst growing, they require copious waterings of liquid manure. Spring cabbage should be sown in the middle of July in friable mould, for transplantation later. A good dressing for the seed bed is composed of salt and soot. This is also a good preventative of cabbage-fly. Caterpillars must be picked off sedulously, and weeds must be kept down by hand-picking and hoeing. The cultivation is substantially the same for all the cabbage family, but cauliflower is usually sown in heat, under glass. Broccoli, being of exotic origin, is somewhat delicate, but borecole is exceedingly hardy. Brussels sprouts are economical and hardy plants, but a protracted growing season is essential to maturity.

Onions: Onion seed may be sown in spring or autumn, but autumn sown onions are generally considered safer from the attacks of the onion fly, which is much to be feared. Dressings with soda and soot will keep down the maggot. It is well to remember that fresh manure is not a good food for onions, but wood ashes and charred refuse are excellent for working in before sowing.

Potatoes: Potatoes require a rich but sweet ground; land that has been heavily manured for a previous crop of celery will do very well. This is better than fresh manuring, which is apt to make the tubers ‘soapy.’ Sandy soils that have been previously manured make for better flavoured crops, but perhaps not very heavy ones. Night frosts are much to be feared when planting early in the year, therefore, planting should not be too early. Some varieties may be planted as early as February in favourable, sunny situations, if the land is fairly light, but March is the more usual month for early, kinds, April for mid-season varieties, and May for the late ones. Earthing-up helps the formation of the tubers and prevents them coming up partly above ground, which spoils the flavour.

Potatoes are not ready for lifting until after flowering and withering of the ripened haulm. A deep garden fork should be used, and the operation should take place in dry weather.

Fruit.

Propagation of fruit trees and bushes is a somewhat expensive, intricate and lengthy business, and is not recommended for the gardener of limited means and space. Excellent young trees and bushes in a half-grown condition can be purchased from reliable nurseries, and this course is suggested for those who intend to take up fruit growing in a modest way.

Apples and Pears: Apple trees require a good loam soil, with a clay sub-soil, but the pear is more fastidious, requiring a heavy but well-drained soil which has been richly manured. Othenvise, pears are treated in a similar manner to the apples, and the trees are of the same types. When the young trees are received for planting, care should be taken that they are not exposed to the frost. Trim ragged root-ends with a sharp knife, and set the tree in the hole previously prepared, with the roots spreading into an even surface of mould. Do not plant too far down—better too near the surface than too deep—but leave the soil below the roots loose. Fill in carefully, pressing down from time to time, and being careful to keep the young trees upright.

Care must be taken to protect the trees from blights and other pesta. Grease-bands should be put put round the trunks and lower branches each October, and a dressing of soft-soap and grease on the bands should be renewed periodically up to the end of February. Pruning should be done judiciously in accordance with instructions laid down in the Gardening Calendar.

Currants: The Black Currant requires rather different management from Red and White Currants, but the soil in which all three do best is a trenched and fairly rich loam, with top dressings of rotted stable manure, after planting. In early spring, the Black Currant should have all dead wood and much of the old wood removed. Encourage strong young growths from the base—it is these that bear the fruit. Red and White Currants should have the young wood cut back vigorously, and the old more cautiously. The young side shoots should be cut back in May and further shortened in November. Small insect-eating birds love all currants, and it is necessary to protect the bushes with string netting or old cast-off lace curtains.

Gooseberries: These are among the hardiest of all fruits, and will yield in practically any soil, given a fair amount of sun. Adult bushes should be some five or six feet from each other, but younger bushes may be planted closer, and thinned out as the branches threaten to touch. In pruning early in the year, cut out all old wood, keeping the shape open, and branching out to admit sun and air. Always strive to maintain a supply of young, active wood.

Raspberries: These may be planted in November or December in a deeply dug and fairly heavy loam, well manured. Set in rows five feet apart with two feet from plant to plant. Thin out suckers that appear from root-stock, down to three or five, and tie them as they grow, to strained wires, stakes, etc. Remove all summer root-shoes as they appear. In spring, cut back canes to firm wood to induce formation of side branches that will yield sprays of fine fruit. Allow three to five new canes to form for the following reason and when fruiting is over remove the canes that have borne fruit.

Strawberries: To grow to perfection, select a moderately heavy and rather rich soil, well-drained, in an open sunny position. The plants should be in rows three feet apart, and eighteen inches from plant to plant in the rows. Plants should be discarded after two or three years according to condition, and beds of young plants made yearly. When the fruit sets, apply manure water or a dressing of nitrate of soda at the rate of 2 lbs per square rod, to help swell the fruit. At flowering time arrange straw around each plant to keep the fruit clean and off the ground. Ample protection against the raids of thrushes and blackbirds by netting over the beds is almost imperative. VINERIES.

It is practically impossible to produce grapes satisfactorily in this country, except in suitably heated conservatories. These must be equipped with an efficient hot-water apparatus, or other means of circulating the hot air.

The young vines are planted in what are called ‘borders.’ These must be carefully constructed, preferably on a concrete base, or on a foundation of broken bricks from six to nine inches thick, sloping towards a drain. A layer of clean broken bones should follow, and (hen a layer of , turves (grass side downwards). Upon this should be planted three feet of ‘compost.’ This last is composed of one half of good loam of the kind technically known as ‘top-spit’; to this is added one eighth of cow and stable manure well mixed; one eighth of leaf mould, and a quarter of light sandy loam. These must then be mixed well together.

Vines should be planted four feet apart where more than one is required, but, as a rule, one vine is sufficient. The plants may be placed in the borders from autumn till April or May. When transferring from the pots to the borders, care must be exercised to disturb the thickly matted roots as little as possible. The planting should be near the wall of the hot-house, with the roots splaying out widely, but they should be laid no deeper in the ground than they were in the pot. A finely sieved liquid manure should be used as a mulch, and a little gentle watering is necessary. The shoots should be trained up the wall, and a wire-network fixed upon which to train them.

Opposite the fourth leaf of a shoot will be found a rudimentary bunch of fruit; all young shoots should be pinched off two leaves beyond this. Periodically, all fruitless growths should be removed, and judicious pruning done from time to time. If vine-mildew appears like a fine white powder on the leaves, sulphur dusting must immediately be resorted to. When desirable, the bunches should have their berries carefully thinned out with a pair of vine scissors to allow space for expansion.

The best species of grape for hot-house culture are The Black Hamburg, Black Prince and the Gros Colman.

WATER GARDENS.

Nothing is so fascinating—particularly to children—as the pond or water garden. This may be made on quite modest lines, generally as an adjunct to a larger scheme, and the style may be varied according to individual taste.

One simple lily-pond was contrived by sinking five tubs in the ground to form a rough oval, the tops projecting a couple of inches and rims of concrete formed on each. They had been thoroughly tarred and dried before burying. Various beautiful water lilies grew upon these ponds; a crazy pavement formed the setting, and the rest of the scheme was en suite.

Another scheme was not quite so simple. A large six-foot square was excavated to a depth of three feet, and the walls and base bricked up—the walls shelving to form a flight of steps all round. A length of piping was run from the kitchen underground, and fixed in the bed of the pond, and end bent upwards about a foot, to form a miniature fountain. Another length of piping ran underground to the kitchen drain, the pond end being about a foot from the top rim—thus forming an overflow. The wall was well concreted, and the kitchen tap turned on the fill the basin. Carp were introduced, and a few water-lilies floated on the surface.

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