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Gardening:
The Moonlight Garden
The Water Garden
The Rock Garden
The Wild Flower Garden
The Court Of The Queen Of Flowers
The Children's Garden
The Bulb Garden
The Indoor Garden
The Garden That Faces Four Ways
What Can Be Done With Half An Acre
Old And New Flowers For The Garden
Where Are And Nature Meet
Our Birds And Our Gardens
The Flower Spectrum
Garden Friends And Foes
Trees And Tree Planting
Window Box Gardening
Flowers For Cutting
Garden Warnings
The More Common Garden Flowers And How To Grow Them

Gardening And The Flower Spectrum

( Originally Published Early 1900's )



There is now a fancy for gardens, or sometimes for beds, of masses of solid color. It is a pretty idea, and in itself a useful one, since to work it out effectively a thorough understanding of the flowers to be used, their exact season of bloom, and the length of time which it may be supposed to endure, is required. For it goes without saying that a garden or a bed of any given color must be an applied example of the succession of bloom-it must produce a certain effect and keep it for the entire summer, or it has not fulfilled the object of its being. This may be done, however, with flowers of almost every color, and how it may be accomplished is the object of the present chapter.

The Blue Garden

Blue is a color increasingly fashionable in the flower world just now, whether it be the wonderful blue garden of Mrs. Burnett, of which so much is heard, or the single festoon bed in the suburban yard. Perhaps this is because blue is of all garden colors the most difficult to obtain. The blue-garden enthusiast does not ordinarily discriminate between flowers which are strictly blue and those which are, properly speaking, lavender or purple, however; and although in many cases this results in a garden which is not blue at a11, the number of really blue flowers is so small that without some such leeway it would be difficult, and perhaps impossible, to design a true blue garden which would be permanently effective. Care should be taken, in planning the garden of this color, to use sufficient clear blue flowers to counterbalance the purple ones, so that the latter may take their tone from the others, not give their own color scheme to the entire garden.

The obvious border for the blue garden is the forget-me-not, which blooms early, and though showing little color later in the year, gives a foretaste of the future glories of the garden before they have well begun. Let larkspur be grouped behind it-the more lavishly the better. One of the most effective larkspur plantings that can be imagined is that at the Ranelagh Club, near London, where a path runs through a veritable thicket of larkspur some six feet high. Of course in our climate such an effect would entail far more trouble to procure than is necessary in the more genial climate of England; but the effect is so novel and so beautiful that it is well worth considerable effort to obtain. While there are many varieties of larkspur among which to choose, the best are Kelway's hybrids, which are in this country grown from seed from Kelway, the English larkspur specialist, and though high in price, they are well worth the difference in cost. The plants are strong and grow to enormous size, those exhibited at a recent flower show in London bearing spikes of bloom twelve inches in circumference, composed of blossoms any one of which was sufficiently large to make, alone, a generous buttonhole bouquet. Of course these were exhibition blooms; but flowers approximating them in size and beauty can be raised by any amateur, given care and some understanding of the subject. The Carnegie, a pale blue, touched here and there with pink, is perhaps among the loveliest, although there are many others among which it is difficult to choose-notably the Rev. E. Lascelles, and the Smoke of War, the latter bearing stout stalks of a dull deep purple.

The anchusa may also be massed to good effect in the blue garden, although the single plants are unsatisfactory, owing to their ill-formed shape. It blooms at the same time as the larkspur, and like it will give a second crop of bloom if cut back after the first is passed. It is covered with a mass of pale sky blue flowers and is second only to the larkspur in decorative quality. The blue lupine is covered with long racemes of blue in June, while in July the steel blue echinops, with its globular blossoms, and the thistle-like eryngium, of similar color, some varieties of which boast bluish foliage as well as steel-blue blooms, both add to the effect of the garden. The Nigella, or Lovein-the-Mist, is a blue annual with feathery foliage which appears in August, and which is pretty and oldfashioned, but which cannot be relied upon for striking color effect. The veronica, last of the "true blue" flowers, blooms in August, and is highly decorative with its spikes of rich blue bloom.

And now for the purple flowers. One of the chief among them is the platycodon, a striking plant three feet in height, reminiscent of a glorified bluebell. It blooms in July, and is exceedingly effective surrounded by a border of ageratum-a sturdy and dependable little plant, which should be a part of every blue garden, and which may be depended upon to show color from its first bloom until frost. Earlier blooming are the Canterbury bells, which make a brave showing in blue, although the blue variety is not the most beautiful of their many shades. Earlier still than these, the lavender Polemenium (Greek Valerian), a strong and useful little plant, gives a mass of color in the corner of the garden allotted to it, while later again, the purple aster, both of the annual and the perennial varieties, must not be forgotten. The purple bergamot blooms in June, and keeps it up until August, or later, while anchusa, larkspur, and Polemenium, may be relied on to furnish a second blooming late in summer.

The Red Garden

Although it is said by some authorities that there are few red flowers, a red garden may be arranged for a' that. The chief difficulty in considering its arrangement is in the disposition of the various shades, which vary widely, and which are but too apt to quarrel with each other in the most violent manner. For instance, the crimson of the sweet Mary (Monarda) cannot be placed with any hopes of success near the scarlet of the Lychnis Chalcedonica, nor can any of the brilliant red phloxes, such as the General von Heutz, which are apt to be touched with a hint of deep rose in their vivid coloring, be satisfactorily grouped near either of them. Still, the problem is not insoluble, and since so many of the garden standbys belong to this shade, it is quite possible to enjoy the flaming masses of color-or rather, of colors-to one's heart's content.

Perhaps the first of the red flowers to appear, if we except the tulips, which may be had in striking shades of that gay color, is the Oriental poppy. Of all the early flowers this is the most striking, and may be had in various shades-some of the too familiar "brick dust" tvpe, but others of wonderful tints of scarlet and of crimson. The red pyrethrum makes a bright bed of color wherever it may be set, although its tint, being closely on the cerise order, may perhaps appear as well suited to the pink as to the red garden, and must be combined with this recollection in view. The sweet William, and various of the pinks, are also additions to the early summer garden which, alas! last a11 too short a time in view of the increase which they add to the beginnings of the garden's beauty.

Those flowers, however, are only by the way. In June the red garden begins to come into its own indeed. Mention has been made of the scarlet Lychnis Chalcedonica, and of sweet Mary. Of these the former, in its dazzling scarlet, does not long satisfy the eye with its lavish color; but the latter may be relied upon to keep the garden gay until frost, if it be kept cut, and in any case until early September. Masses of it should be planted here and there, as well as masses of the red phlox, in varying shades, which in July, and later, will blaze brightly in the summer sun. Near either of these plants may be set red hollyhocks, the dark rich tones of which form an effective combination with almost any other shade, and are in themselves restful to the eye among the brighter tones scattered about the garden. In July the coral of the penstemon may be massed here and there, while the Celosia, in both varieties-cristata and plumoscz-cockscomb and prince's feather-gives a touch of cool rich crimson. There. is, earlier, a crimson antirrhinum, in tones which recall the words of the blind man, who, when asked to describe his idea of red, likened it to the sound of a trumpet. At this season, too, the red mallow is an effective addition to the garden, although the red variety is in point of beauty inferior to the pink or white.

Returning to July-why do so many delightful "byways" come up to tempt one, like Proserpina, away from the business in hand when one is speaking about flowers?-the gladiolus must not be forgotten. The red variety known as Mrs. Francis King is exceedingly beautiful, but there are many others from which to choose. An entire bed filled with these flowers, even though it be a trifle bare after blooming, is, while it lasts, a sight to conjure with. I have seen over two hundred feet planted in these flowers, in a strip perhaps three feet wide, in which there was no hint of monotony, but on the contrary, an effect of almost unbelievable delicacy and grace.

Later in the fall, the red flowers seem to come entirely into their own, and to displace the others. The red helenium, so beautiful for massing, in its shades of deep crimson; the many-shaded reds of the dahlia; the cerise-red of the cosmos, the long-enduring scarlet of the salvia and the canna.; and last of all, the deep crimson of the red chrysanthemum, end the list of the crimson and scarlet glories of the garden.

The Yellow Garden

There is no color brighter or more cheerful than yellow in the garden. Perhaps that is the reason why we all welcome the first daffodils so gladly as we see them in the hands of vendors in the streets in the first frosty mornings of early spring. They seem not only flowers-not only plants warm and alive, first prophecies of what is to come when the snows of winter have been left behind-but imprisoned sunlight, the warmth and brightness of the coming summer. And imprisoned sunlight is the underlying idea ,which the yellow garden calls forth, when its shining beds lie sparkling beneath the summer sun.

One can hardly think of a yellow garden without thinking at the same time of coreopsis and gaillardia. These two valuable perennials, neither of which is especially attractive in itself, cannot be surpassed for massed color-effect, and make a foundation upon which the rest of the garden may be solidly built. Both are sometimes a little hard to get started, but once estab lished they form thickets of foliage so compact that it is difficult to set any other plant in among them without its being in imminent danger of being choked out. Both of the above mentioned plants begin to bloom in June or July, and continue during the remainder of the summer. In August another, almost as prolific a grower, although an annual, may be added to the list. This is the Dimorphotheca, or Golden African Daisy, a flower thriving through the hottest sun and in the dryest soil. Later comes the helenium, in its (most satisfactory) yellow variety, which is especially valuable as a planting against a house, or a wall, where it will give its full effect, and where, moreover, it may receive some support in case of winds. During August, too, a group of sunflowers in a corner is a pretty sight, while the red-banded calliopsis blazes away in red and gold and the calendula,, which has been busily at work since June, adds its orange tints to the gaiety of the garden. At this season the yellow gladiolus makes its appearance, as well as the ever-present, but none the less decorative, golden glow. Then, too, may be seen the bright nasturtiums, which also first came upon the scene in June, and the marigolds, both the giant African variety and the prettier but smaller and less effective French marigold.

August is par excellence the month for the yellow garden, since few perennials seem to be in this color, and since few annuals bloom earlier. Still, a lavish planting of the coreopsis and gaillardia will serve creditably to "carry on" until this season arrives, when the yellow garden suddenly blazes up in a veritable fire of imprisoned sunlight. There are still two flowers which may be added to the list-the June-flowering lemon-yellow pyrethrum, and the gorgeous verba.scum. It is hard to avoid the old adage about the telling twice of a good tale when one thinks of the verbascum; so, in passing, it may merely be said again that there are few flowers of any colors which are its equals, and that no yellow garden should be without at least one clump of the lovely, towering things.

Among late flowers, though less well represented, than the reds, the yellows have a place. The different varieties of the yellow dahlia are effective and beautiful, and the perennial sunflower, one of the last garden plants to bloom, raises its golden head untouched by early frost. The yellow chrysanthemums are perhaps the most satisfactory of them a11, especially those belonging to the "pompon" variety, which are covered with tiny buttons of gold. At least one of these should be in every yellow garden, or, for matter of that, in any garden at all. And when the winter comes down upon the flowers putting out the yellow, the red, the pink and blue lights one by one, the last among them to give way will be that last bright reflection of the summer sun, persisting so bravely through frost and cold-the brave little yellow pompon chrysanthemum.

The White Garden

The essential points of the white garden have been treated in considerable detail under the heading "The Moonlight Garden." Of course in a garden which is to produce an effect by day, the perfume of the flowers is of less importance than in one which is primarily designed to be effective by night; and in the same way the striking effect of various blossoms can, to a considerable extent, be dispensed with, since less is required to attract the eye by day than by night. It may be well, however, to recall a few of the chief standbys of the white garden, be it for day or night enjoyment, which cannot be too strongly emphasized. Prominent among them stand the white phlox, the nicotiana, the Lilium aur'at2cm, the yucca and the Hyacinthus ca-ndicans. Candytuft and sweet alyssum, white scabiosa, white pinks and white verbena may also be mentioned as charming and delicate flowers, which make a good effect during the day, although inconspicuous at night. Since almost every plant has a. white variety, the choice for the white garden is a large one, and almost every variety of flower may make a part of it.

The Pink Garden

The pink garden is almost as easy to plan as the white one, for the number of pink flowers is infinite and tempting, from the Dielytra, or "bleeding heart," which is one of the most effective of spring's advance scouts, to the pink chrysanthemum which brings up the rear guard in October. A border of pink Bellis, or English daisies, may edge such a garden in early spring, as may the pink variety of the candytuft, and behind them a most effective grouping may be made with masses of pink foxglove and the delicate shellpink of the Canterbury bell. As those begin to pass, the great salmon colored Oriental poppy, blooming prolifically through its short season, offers its share to the beauty of the garden; while the Lychnis viscaria, a bright cerise, also blooms freely and makes a blaze of color through the short time in which it adds color to its corner. Then follow the pink pyrethrum, pink snapdragon, and lastly the great pink mallow, which grows to a height of five feet or more, bearing great rosy flowers which brighten the summer marshes later in the year, but which comes earlier under cultivation. Then the hollyhocks, in a11 shades, which should be planted broadcast, ensure masses of bloom, and give color in every spot, before which still more color may be massed, at the gardener's wish. Before these have gone, in their turn, again come the phlox in many shades and varieties, and upon this, tb a great extent the garden can rely. Nothing is lovelier than phlox, or more satisfactory, both because of its very great decorative quality and because of the little care which it requires; and both here and in the white garden it is a pleasure to be able to avail oneself of this most effective plant with a lavish hand. Before it has gone, the pink galega, a useful perennial which blooms freely and which has the advantage of flowering at a season when other perennials are temporarily quiescent, comes into bloom; later the pink physo.stegia, which is a more satisfactory variety than the white, begins its work. While the phlox and the physostegia are blooming, the pink garden is in truth at its best, for these two full flowering and striking plants will give a dash of color-delicate or bold as the case may be-in any corner where, for the moment, color is otherwise lacking, and will continue to keep it there for the remainder of the season.

As September approaches, although the two garden standbys may show signs of wear, other attractive blossoms come to help them in their failing work. The first of these is the gladiolus, which is charming in its tones of rose and pink, among which may be especially noted the "Kate" and the "America." The rudbeckia pz.crpurce, with its large daisy-like flowers of dull pink, of the tone which was once called "crushed raspberry," borne upon a plant four feet high, has no small part in the beautifying of the fall garden. The sedum will become a solid mass of dull-pink flower-heads during its bloom, and as such is useful in outlining a circle or other definite design. The pink annual aster, the pink dahlia, the cosmos, and, best of all, the wonderful silvery pink Queen Charlotte anemone, each in turn gives its touch of loveliness to the pink garden, until at last it passes among the things that have been, with the passing of the last pink chrysanthemum.

The above list of flowers is not, and does not, of course, pretend to be, exhaustive. There are many other flowers, often sold in mixtures rather than according to color, which if procured separately, can well be included under one or the other of the various headings described here. For example, the pansy, though excellently adapted for the border of the blue, yellow or white gardens, ordinarily is sold in a mixture of seeds, or mixed plants are bought in "flats." It is, however, possible to procure seeds of any particular color, and so to make a border of these charming, free-blooming little plants in any color that is desired. The same thing applies to the verbenas, the antirrhinum, and to many other plants. In such cases I have mentioned a definite variety only when the color under discussion was especially well represented by it. As far as possible, too, the varieties recommended have been those with a. distinct massing value. The sweet pea, accordingly, and the columbine, as well as the morning glory, have been purposely omitted because they do not present a sufficiently powerful color effect, such as the designer of a garden or bed of a certain,color desires. It is hoped that these lists may serve as useful suggestions, as bases for the collection and arrangement of plants of various colors; but they are in no way exhaustive and for the above reasons many charming and well known plants will be found to have been omitted from these pages.



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