FALL WORK IN THE GARDEN

If the garden has been well tended during the growing season there will
not be much rubbish to clear away and the absence of weeds will make
the harvesting of the winter vegetables a pleasure. A bright, sunny
day is best for digging all root vegetables, especially potatoes which
should be allowed to lie on the ground until dry enough for the dirt to
shake off, leaving the tubers clean and sightly.

After frost has killed the vegetables so that no further good will be
derived from them they should be pulled and piled in a heap to dry and
be burned; especially is this desirable if they have been infested with
any disease or insects during summer, but if free from any harmful
conditions they should, preferably, be put on the compost heap to add
fertility to the coming season’s garden.

Wire trellises, poles and wires used for the training of peas, tomatoes,
cucumbers and the like should now be removed and stored away for next
year. All boxes, boards or sash that can harbor insects or the chrysalids
of cabbage or other worms, should be raised, cleaned and removed.

The winter treatment of the garden will depend upon conditions that
have existed during summer. If the garden has been free from insects
and disease it will have been a good plan to sow the entire area to rye
for a cover crop during winter, to be turned under for green manure
in the spring. This protects the ground from leaching during winter,
especially if the winter should be open, and adds materially to the
fertility of the soil, but if there has been trouble with insects and
disease it will be better to fall-plough, leaving the ground in furrows
so that as many as possible of the chrysalids and larvæ of the various
plant enemies may be destroyed.

If onion seed has been sown in August for early spring onions it
will be well to give the beds a covering of straw or marsh hay at the
approach of cold weather. The rhubarb rows may be banked with coarse
manure from the barnyard and the asparagus bed may have the tops
removed and the roots protected with manure; this will hasten the
production of shoots in the spring and make stronger roots.

If there is a bit of land available for early peas it may be ploughed
and the furrows filled with well-rotted manure, each furrow turned
over the manure in the next and the rows marked with sticks; in early
spring, drills may be opened with the hand cultivators and the seed for
the very earliest peas sown.

If the lettuce, carrots, beets, salsify, endive, spinach, parsnips
and radishes have proved satisfactory and any of the annual varieties
have been allowed to go to seed it will be wise to save the seed for
the coming season as the increasing shortage of seeds makes it more
or less problematical whether a supply may be forthcoming another
season. Lettuce, endive, spinach, Swiss chard, Chinese cabbage, and
radishes seed freely the first year, beets, carrots, salsify, parsnips
and turnips the second year and the mature vegetables must be planted
in the spring to produce seed. If there are good roots of carrots and
beets, these may be stored in sand in the cellar and planted out in
the spring when they will bloom and produce seed. The parsnips and
salsify left in the ground may be dug in the spring and reset where
they are to bloom and a few plants will give sufficient seed for the
home garden. The seed from the best tomatoes should have been saved,
a few melons, cucumbers and eggplants allowed to ripen and the finest
of the red peppers saved for seed. The sweetest and driest of the
winter squash should have its seed set aside for the coming year. Even
should there prove to be an abundance of seed this saving will do no
harm; the raising of seed of biennial vegetables is interesting and
should there be a real scarcity of seed one will be very thankful of
the forethought which makes the shortage innocuous as far as one’s
own garden is concerned and, besides, one may do one’s little bit by
supplying friends and neighbors.

For the busy woman who has but a modicum of time to spare for the
growing of flowers, but is loath to relinquish entirely their cheerful
presence about the grounds and house, the annual garden with its wide
diversity of color, season and charm affords the greatest possible
returns for the outlay required. A few packets of seed, most of which
may be purchased for from five to ten cents, will lay the foundation
for sheets and sheets of bloom and the labor of planting and caring for
them will be less than is required for perennials.

One great advantage in growing annuals is that the beds may be freshly
prepared each spring, there is nothing in the way to retard spading—no
perennial growths to be carefully worked around, that the roots may
not be injured or the new growth, not yet above ground, be destroyed.
It is all straight ahead work, and the first early crop of weeds is
completely eliminated, grass eradicated and all is in order for the
reception of the plants which may have been started in flats in the
house or in a hotbed or cold frame or, in the case of such annuals as
do not take kindly to transplanting, in the open ground.

Nor is it necessary in the case of annuals that there should be a
regular, formally laid out garden or permanent beds. A border about the
base of the house along the fence or walks, will give room for several
kinds of flowers, flowers that will be a mass of bloom from early
summer until late frost.

A very satisfactory place for annuals I have found is down through the
vegetable garden. I like their company while I am at work among the
useful but less ornamental vegetables, so always plan to have a row of
something mid-way of the garden; usually the row takes the form of tea
roses which never do so well for me as in this homely situation. The
culture is more thorough than can be given to plants in beds, there is
less crowding, hence fewer insect pests and I always plan to have the
adjacent vegetables of as ornamental a character as possible; a fine
row of mossy parsley on one side, feathery carrots on the opposite
row gives a charming background of green. Lettuce, beets, parsnips,
any of the pleasantly leaved greens are attractive companion rows and
although the rose is the aristocrat of the garden, objecting decidedly
to sharing her bed with less royal plants I have never found that she
objects to their presence when they keep to their own allotted row.

This long row through the garden is an excellent place to start seeds
of hardy perennials for transplanting into permanent beds the following
year, but only for this preliminary growth, for the annual plowing
makes their permanent tenancy impracticable, but bedding plants such as
dahlias, gladioli, tigridias and the like will be at their best here
and in their summer culture have all the characteristics of annuals.

For early blooming it is always worth while to sow the seeds of
annuals early in the spring in flats in the house or in a hotbed or
cold frame. Usually one can spare room in the hotbed for a few plats
of seeds and these should be sown at the same time the seeds of the
vegetables are sown, sowing each separate variety in little plats by
itself, separating the plats from each other by narrow strips of wood
pressed into the ground, and labelling each plat with the names of
seed, date of sowing and, if known, the length of time it takes for
the seed to germinate. Annuals, however, germinate more rapidly than
perennials, many appearing above ground in from three to five days
after sowing, though a few, like the Arctotis Grandis, nicotianas
and ricinus, may take from ten to fifteen days. This is where the
forethought of labelling the seed plats with date of sowing and period
of germination is of practical value—it prevents undue impatience and
discouragement when the plants fail to appear as soon as we expect them
to; but with a mixed planting of seeds of varying characteristics,
there will always be early comers to encourage one and keep alive
faith in the ultimate appearance of the least and last.

Any considerable planting of annuals should include those that will
give a long season of bloom for scenic effect, those that will be
especially desirable for cut flowers and above all those special
flowers which most appeal to our sentiment and are dear to us through
associations or suggestions.

For mass planting about the base of buildings or in front of shrubbery
there are few plants more effective than the celosias, especially the
varieties known as prince’s feather; many of the varieties in red
and yellow effects are very good and they seem to stand the heat and
drought and even the early frosts remarkably well. Usually a spray of
the plumey blooms is a whole bouquet in itself. If cut before killing
frosts and brought into the house they will retain their freshness for
a long time, and potted make excellent fall and early winter plants.

The argemone or prickly poppy is a little known plant of rather recent
introduction that is rather slow in getting started in spring, but
once on its way produces a continuous succession of large poppy-like
blooms in golden yellow, pale yellow and pure white, the latter
especially attractive with its crown of golden stamens. Its chief
merit, however, consists in its immunity to frost, continuing in full
bloom well into November—a quality shared by few annual flowers.
Perhaps as close a companion as can be cited is the tall-growing
lupine, a beautiful annual that comes in purest white, rosy mauve, sky
blue, purple and scarlet and white and mind not at all the frost of
late October and early November. The soft foliage would seem ill suited
to cold, but if one looks closely one will notice that the foliage
is dry, not succulent like many annuals that succumb readily to the
first cold wave. Balsams and portulacca are notable examples of this
susceptibility.

The nicotianas are other cold-resisting plants and have the added
advantage of self-sowing—not to a troublesome extent but sufficiently
to insure a yearly supply of volunteer plants without thought or
trouble on the gardener’s part. The nicotiana does not open up well in
bright sunshine, but unfolds its snowy cups in late afternoon and on
cloudy days, but in shady positions is more generous of its beauty and
is lovely when silhouetted against the flaming red of the salvias.

The arctotis grandis is another of the less commonly grown annuals
that should be included in one’s garden planting. These, too, are
sturdy defiers of the frost and exceedingly desirable as cut flowers,
remaining in bloom for a week or ten days and should be placed in
a sunny position for best effect as they are real sun lovers. Like
all the preceding they are of the easiest culture—good garden soil,
water if the season is unusually dry, and plenty of room to develop.
The distance at which any plant should be set depends, of course,
upon its manner of growth, but it is an excellent rule to plant all
erect growing plants at least half their height apart. Low-growing
and trailing plants, of course, are an exception to the rule, many
requiring two or three times their height in inches apart, as the
verbena.

Few annuals require staking, notable exceptions being the sultanas,
tall anterrhinums, scabiosas, the tall stocks and a few others. When
staking is necessary it should be done by as inconspicuous means
as possible; bamboo stakes painted green are the neatest and most
inconspicuous.

For masses of brilliant color there is nothing to equal the scarlet
verbena, the scarlet sage, salvia splendens, the various phlox
Drummondii or the dwarf nasturtium, the scarlet or orange zinnias and
the marigold, and for sweetness one must have the sweet peas and the
stock.

Much is gained by the use of low-growing plants as a border to beds
of taller plants. Blue lobelias, dwarf morning glories, English
daisies, sweet alyssum, candytuft, all require little root room and add
materially to the resulting bloom.

For a screen to mask an undesirable view or object there are several
very desirable annuals that are of the easiest culture and of most
effective presence. With the stately ricinus all are familiar; less
well-known is the tall cleom pungens, with its curious flowers of
pure white and white and rose, the long, curving anthers of which have
given it the name of “Spider Flower.” It is a beautiful and desirable
plant, and should be started in the house or hotbed and transplanted
where it is to bloom when the nights are warm, setting the plants two
feet apart. The Nicotiana Sylvestris is another stately plant, growing
to a height of five or six feet in good soil and, unlike N. affinnis,
its snow-white blooms remain open all day and are attractive when grown
in the rear of beds of salvias. Like the cleom it requires room to
develop. Practically all annuals may be sown in the open ground; the
only object in sowing in hotbeds or house and transplanting is to bring
them forward early so as to have the longest possible season of bloom.

To speak of asters seems superfluous, as whatever flowers may be absent
from the annual garden it is a safe venture to claim that the aster
will not be missing; that is quite as it should be; there is really no
one flower that so completely meets the requirements of scenic effect
and cut flower work as the asters. In the stronger colors of crimson,
purple and blue it is as effective a flower as one could wish to use
for mass planting, while for more refined and delicate beauty no one
could ask for anything better than the pure white and delicate shell
pinks of the Ostrich Feather and Late Branching whites. The Comet
asters are very artistic, attractive flowers but, unfortunately, do
not stand up under wet weather—a hard rain reducing them to a dismal,
raggy condition. Set the wide branching asters at least a foot apart
and see that all asters have clean, healthy soil to grow in to avoid
the troubles that arise when conditions are unfavorable. A warm,
fibrous loam, well enriched with old manure, is best and water should
be given freely during dry weather, especially when the buds are
forming. The black aster beetle is the only serious foe of the aster
and makes its appearance when the flowers are in full bloom, doing an
immense amount of damage in a few hours if not destroyed as they eat
the petals of the flowers, rendering them very unsightly. The only
satisfactory remedy is hand picking in early morning while the beetles
are sluggish. If a pan of hot water or water with a little kerosene
in it is carried and the beetles dropped into it as gathered it will
not be difficult to control them. Spraying with arsenate of lead will
kill them if one does not object to the use of poisons on flowers that
are to be brought into the house. Paris green can also be used but
discolors the flowers, but hand picking has no objectionable features
aside from the labor entailed, and that is by no means prohibitive as
it takes but a short time to go over a hundred plants.

Try planting a few salvias on the shady side of the house; they will
not make as much show during the summer as those grown in the sunlight
but will be in full bloom long after those in exposed positions are cut
down by frost.

A few very desirable annuals are plants of one florescence and need
to have repeated plantings of seed for a continuous bloom. Most
conspicuous of this class of plants is the candytuft in white, purple
and red and the charming little schizanthus, which should be sown every
few weeks for a succession of blooms. The plants come into bloom in
a few weeks from the sowing of seed and are perfect little pyramids
of bloom. Sow fresh seed of candytuft when the first sown plants are
beginning to form flower buds; used in this way the candytuft furnishes
a most useful white for window-boxes and vases, and is unexcelled for
edgings of taller plants.

Is a permanent investment, possible only in the permanent home. It adds
dignity and charm attainable from no other form of planting. It is to
the outdoor life of the home what the possession of colonial furniture
and family heirlooms is to the indoor life, and yet is neither
expensive nor tedious in its inception. It may be acquired fully grown,
as it were, by an order to the florist for ready grown plants of
blossoming size, ready to give seasonal bloom, or it may be developed
in a few months, inexpensively and most interestingly, by procuring
the seeds of as many desirable varieties of hardy perennials as one
has room or inclination for and planting them in the hotbed in early
spring, and transplanting into permanent positions when large enough
or, better still, by planting the seed in cold frames in August or
early September and growing them on until cold weather when they should
be protected for the winter and in the spring planted out where they
are to bloom. Every hardy perennial set out in one’s garden is an asset
that will increase in value each succeeding year. Many have the root
formation that admits of divisions—as the Shasta daisy, a single two
year old clump usually dividing up into from six to ten blooming-size
plants. English violets, English daisies, polyanthus, and many other
plants may be divided annually until in time one owns large colonies
of them, and this is a point well worth understanding,—that a large
number of one kind of plant is much more effective and worth while than
a large number of _kinds_ of plants, of just one or a few individuals.
Many plants which are inconspicuous or ineffective singly or in small
groups, surprise one with their beauty when grown in large masses or
long rows. The ulmaria—a variety of spiræa of deciduous growth—is a
notable example of this. Planted singly it is merely a rather pretty
flower; grown in a long row it is a mass of snowy white in late June
and July that compels one with its beauty. Its congener, the spiræa
fillipendula, a lesser but most graceful growth, also pleases one
especially when grown in long rows in front of taller plants. And right
here is a point well worth considering in planting a hardy border—the
arranging of plants in rising tiers of bloom so that a bank of bloom
may be produced. One effective bed that gladdened my heart for several
seasons and rose in tier after tier of gracious bloom through several
weeks of early summer had an initial planting next the front of
tritomas, whose scarlet torches of flame did not come into bloom until
late summer, but from then until frost made a brilliant band of color.
Back of these was a fine planting of columbine, next a row of scarlet
lychnis alternated with white feverfew, and still further back a full
planting of the garden spiræa whose feathery heads of pinky-white
flowers stood four or five feet high and in turn were topped with fine
clumps of physostegias; the whole planting making a beautiful bank
of bloom and one not commonly seen. This was a permanent planting
requiring little care beyond the removal of all weeds and grass in the
spring and an occasional thinning out of the plants when they became
too crowded. The physostegia increases rapidly by root division and the
lychnis, feverfew and aquilegias all self-sow so the bed practically
never ran out or needed renewing and the cost, except for the tritomas,
was that of a few packets of seeds—probably a total of fifty cents for
some one hundred and fifty square feet of loveliness, and there are
many, many combinations as happy and as easily acquired as that.

Lacking the convenience of hotbeds and cold frames, the vegetable
garden is a most excellent place in which to start hardy perennials for
a permanent garden. Flowers planted in rows among vegetables always
seem to do better than anywhere else, the reason being that they are
not crowded—usually being in single rows with a foot or more of open
space at each side through which the hoe and cultivator can work
freely, and where they will receive regular and constant attention
throughout the growing season. In a garden of say fifty feet in width,
several varieties of flowers may be grown in short lengths of ten feet
or more. They should be covered somewhat more deeply than when sown
in the hotbed or cold frame and the ground firmed well above them,
especially if the weather is dry at the time of planting; when the
seedlings appear they will probably need thinning in order that they
may not grow spindling, but will not need the room they will require
when in permanent quarters. Many kinds of hardy perennials will give
some bloom the first year, though, of course, they will not be at their
best, but they will be sufficiently pronounced to make it possible to
select those most desirable for cultivation. Delphiniums, for instance,
will give small spikes of bloom, probably a foot high, the first season
and if the Gold Medal Hybrids have been planted some very lovely blooms
will result. In the fall the plants may be lifted and set in permanent
positions, or they may be left in the ground until spring and then
transplanted; probably this is the better treatment providing the
ground is not to be ploughed too early, as some of the perennials die
down in the fall and may not appear above the ground in time for very
early transplanting.

Evergreen boughs make the best winter covering, especially when rested
against some support with the tips downward, so as to shed rain. They
do not mat down into a sodden mass as do leaves which have a tendency
to smother and rot plants with an evergreen crown of leaves, but
protect from sun and cold winds, at the same time admitting sufficient
air to the plants to keep them in good condition.

When immediate effect is desired from hardy perennials which must
be produced from seed, considerable time may be gained by planting
the seeds in flats in the house in early February, giving them as
light a position as possible, a south window being preferable, and
transplanting the little seedlings to the hotbed when that is started
in March or early April. This will often force along the blooms and
will certainly produce strong, well developed plants by fall, plants
that should stand the winter and come out in spring in fine condition,
ready for a notable season of bloom.

While hardy perennials are generally thought of in connection with such
herbaceous plants as die down to the ground in fall, reappearing again
in spring, and the few that make a crown of winter foliage, like the
hollyhocks and delphiniums, no perennial garden could be considered
complete without an abundance of lilies. These may be planted here
and there, singly and in groups among the perennials and shrubbery
and will need little attention, increasing in numbers year by year.
This is especially true of the candidum or annunciation lily, which
once planted continues to increase for many years, but should have the
clumps broken up once in three or four years and spread out to give
more room. Failure to bloom successfully always calls for investigation
of the condition of the bulbs. Usually it will be found that decay
has set in or that worms or ants have invaded the bulbs. In either
case the bulbs should be lifted and cleaned and all diseased scales
removed, saving the scales for replanting; reset in clean soil, packing
a handful of clean, sharp sand and a pinch of charcoal about each bulb.
Candidum lilies should not be set more than an inch or two below the
surface of the ground, but most other lilies, especially the auratums,
speciosums, Brownii, and giganteums should be planted six or more
inches deep and well padded with sand. A little pad of sphagnum moss
under each bulb is excellent as it supplies the necessary drainage.
Auratum bulbs and bulbs of the Japanese lilies are not as permanent
as the candidums and tiger lilies, usually lasting a maximum of five
years, if left undisturbed.

It is not much use to plant lily bulbs, tulips and hyacinths in ground
infested with moles. The moles should first be eradicated, and then
bulbs may be planted safely but it is little satisfaction to make an
extensive and costly planting of bulbs only to have them become food
for the moles and ground mice. I have known plantings of several
hundred tulips to be entirely destroyed during a single winter. In one
such planting of five hundred bulbs only three appeared above ground
the following year. A good mole trap is invaluable where moles are in
evidence.