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BULBS FOR THE GARDEN AND HOME

They Play an Important Part in Beautifying Gardens Throughout the Greater Part of the Year

Most surely throughout the year no flowers are more welcome than those of the bulbs (see Bulb) which herald the spring and continue in a glorious pageant of color until the first of the summer blooms commence to unfold. And the fact that they are among the easiest of plants to grow successfully in all types of soils, thriving equally well in town and country gardens, is another guarantee of their lasting and increasing popularity. Indeed, it is difficult to plant too many of them even in the smallest garden, but, like all other ornamental plants, they do repay any special attention we may give them, especially in the initial soil preparation.

In the garden, as distinct from their use for home and greenhouse decoration, in their different types the spring bulbs can be used in a variety of ways with delightful effect. Some, like Crocuses, Daffodils, and Snowdrops, are loveliest when planted in grass or open woodland where they may remain undisturbed for many years; in contrast with which, the Tulips and Hyacinths make a magnificent show when planted en masse in formal bedding schemes. Many of the smaller bulb flowers—Chionodoxa, Muscari, Scilla, Crocus and Narcissus species, and the smaller bulbous Irises—are ideal subjects for the rockery and often seed themselves about freely, while all are suitable for the mixed flower borders where the foreground is of dwarf carpeting

plants among which the smaller bulbs can be left undisturbed and when they die down will leave no unsightly gaps.

_

Daffodils and other Narcissi. One advantage of Daffodils and other Narcissi is that their colors harmonize well with all other flowers of their season, and no matter where they are planted they seldom look out of place.

In the Flower Borders. They are admirable subjects for the herbaceous border to bring color to this portion of the garden when it is most needed. If planted in small groups, say half a dozen bulbs of each kind, towards the front of the border, quite a large selection of the choicer Trumpet Daffodils and largeand small-cupped Narcissi can be grown successfully with very little disturbance for 3 or 4 years, after which, with the other occupants of the border, they can be lifted and replanted. If the border is edged with Nepeta, so much the better; for Daffodils planted, and they are the loveliest of all flowers lovely spring show, and later their dying foliage will be hidden from view by the Nepeta.

Daffodils and other Narcissi are not generally recommended for formal bedding schemes on account of their early flowering and the work entailed in lifting and ripening the bulbs each year; if, however, an early display is desired in one or two beds, then the large golden Trumpet Daffodils should certainly be considered, for they make an especially brave show when vigorous, top-sized (large-sized) bulbs are planted 10 in. or so apart, with a groundwork of colored Primroses, particularly red-flowered kinds.

Loveliest When Naturalized. Among flowers that lend themselves to natural planting, the Daffodils and other Narcissi are supreme. If a patch of grass is available that can be left uncut until early summer, that is where Daffodils should be planted, and they are the loveliest of all flowers for planting in grassed-down orchards. Most bulb dealeis offer special mixed collections for naturalizing, but much better effects are obtained by planting groups of individual varieties.

Likewise the oft repeated advice to scatter the bulbs and plant them where they fall, while excellent in theory, makes rather heavy work in practice, unless a special bulb planter is used. A quicker and more satisfactory method is to lift patches of turf, prepare the ground beneath, plant a patch of half a dozen or so bulbs, and replace the turf. In a few years the bulbs will have increased to such an extent that the patches will have grown together, and each spring will present a glorious mass of bloom.

When to Plant the Bulbs. Bearing in mind that the bulbs will occupy the ground for several years, it is worth while going to a little trouble in preparing the soil for them, by breaking it up well with a fork and mixing in plenty of humus-forming compost or leaf mold, and a generous sprinkling of bone meal.

If you are naturalizing the bulbs in grass, the preparation of the planting sites should be equally thorough. After lifting a square of turf, the soil should be broken up well and enriched if necessary, the bulbs being then planted and the turf replaced and beaten down firmly.

The ideal planting period is from mid-September until the end of October.

Tulips, Gayest of All Spring Flowers. In their great diversity of form and coloring, and long season of flowering, Tulips are without question the gayest of all the flowers with which we can fill our gardens to overflowing in spring. The Tulip pageant starts with the flowering of the Water-lily Tulips (Kaufmanniana varieties) and several other species in early spring, followed by the Single and Double Earlies and the Triumphs until, in May, it reaches its glorious climax with the flowering of the graceful Cottage and stately Darwin Tulips, the Lily-flowered, Breeders, Rembrandts, Parrots, and the magnificent new race of Late Double or Peony-flowered Tulips. Yes, a glorious pageant, and one capable of production in every garden in temperate regions.

Unsurpassed for Cutting. Just as Tulips are invaluable for spring garden display, so also are they indispensable for home decoration, and he is a wise gardener who plants a few rows, in the kitchen garden or elsewhere, specially for this purpose. For when Tulips are in bloom no worthy housewife can resist the urge to gather them; therefore, a supply should be grown for her. The May-flowering types are especially valuable for cutting.

Ideal for Spring Bedding. Tulips are generally recognized as the flowers par excellence for filling beds and borders, on the lawn and elsewhere, and although very effective when massed by themselves, they are even more attractive when associated with groundwork plants which bloom at the same time. This applies particularly to the later-flowering types, and the number of delightful color combinations that can be achieved in this way is unlimited.

Colorful Groundwork Plants. Even with the early Tulips, which are usually planted alone, rich color effects can be obtained, and the attractiveness of the beds prolonged, by planting them in company with colorful Pansies or Polyanthus Primroses, with perhaps edgings of the Heavenly Blue Muscari, and Crocuses.

For the dwarfer later Tulips the double white Arabis, Pansies and variously colored Aubretias provide colorful floral carpets. While for the main plantings there are Wallflowers in a lovely range to provide contrasts or blends with the Tulips as fancy dictates, together with the large English Daisies, and, of course, Forget-me-nots, Phlox divaricata, Alyssum saxatile, Evergreen Candytuft, and Pansies.

Apart from their value for spring bedding purposes, Tulips are very delightful when used in the hardy flower border in the same way as suggested for Daffodils, in groups of individual varieties, or in mixture, dotted among the dwarfer permanent subjects. Homes can be found for Tulip groupings in all manner of sunny places where spring color is desired, and for these plantings home-saved bulbs from the previous spring bedding schemes are excellent.

Before planting Tulips, the ground should be dug deeply, putting in a generous quantity of old manure or compost, well down, so that the bulbs when planted will not be in direct contact with it. A dressing of 3 oz. of bone meal to the square yard, mixed with the upper soil, will be of benefit; and so will a sprinkling of hydrated lime if the soil is markedly acid.

Too early planting is not good for Tulips, as this tends to make them push their leaves above ground prematurely, so that they are damaged if severe frosts occur, and rendered more prone to the disease known as "tulip fire." Indeed, the best period in which to plant Tulips is in October and early November just before the ground freezes.

In recent years the wild or "botanical" Tulips, of Asiatic origin, have come very much to the fore as garden plants on account of their great diversity in form and coloring. Some are rare and, consequently, expensive, but a number of these bulbs are plentiful and cheap and these should be considered as charming subjects for the rock garden and for small groupings in less formal parts of the flower garden. They are all lovers of the sun, thriving in light loamy soil.

Fragrant Hyacinths. The spring garden could contain no more attractive picture than a few small beds of Hyacinths, each bed devoted to a separate color, in positions where their fragrance, as well as their beauty, can be enjoyed to the full.

Beneath the windows on the sunny side of the house is an ideal position for small groupings of Hyacinths, if only for bulbs that have served their purpose for indoor decoration, for if left undisturbed in such positions they will increase and flower freely for many years, producing spikes of medium size.

As for all other bulbs, the soil should be cultivated well before planting the Hyacinths, putting humus-forming material well down, and mixing in a little bone meal, after which the bulbs should be set 8 or 9 in. apart.

Crocuses: Heralds of Spring. Although there are other equally early-flowering bulbous plants, the Snowdrop for instance, and Winter Aconite, it is for Crocuses that we look as the real heralds of approaching spring. First come the species and their varieties, flowers of such fragile daintiness that we wonder how they dare expose themselves to the first fleeting glimpse of February sunshine; and within a few weeks the large-flowered Dutch Crocuses follow their brave example, dispelling the drabness of winter from the garden with the glorious promise of spring. Brave flowers, indeed, in their colors as well as their earliness, and worth planting as extensively as circumstances permit.

Ideal for Rock Gardens. The early-flowering Crocus species are ideal subjects for planting in small groupings in the rockery, or in rock borders, where, if left alone, they will increase by corm production into quite large colonies. Some will seed themselves about freely and appear in odd corners throughout the garden, yet they are so charming and unostentatious as never to be a nuisance. In the rockery they are best planted among dwarf carpeting plants, such as the creeping Thymes, for their flowers are easily spoiled by rain beating them down and splashing soil on them.

Large-Flowered Crocuses. The large-flowered Dutch Crocuses are worth planting generously, for they are inexpensive to buy and quickly make themselves at home. They look lovely when naturalized in grass, in the open or under trees. They are ideal for planting in open woodland and shrub gardens, in drifts or in patches near the paths. Like many other spring bulbs they are very attractive when planted among dwarf mat-forming plants along the front of mixed flower borders, under shrubs, or as edgings to formal beds and borders. The corms should be planted in September, being set 3 or 4 in. apart.

Miniature Spring Bulbs. Many of the smaller bulbs are excellent for planting in the rock garden, or in borders of spring flowers where they can be left undisturbed. Some are suitable for naturalizing on grassy banks and in the less formal parts of the garden; others are ideal for brightening shady places, as for instance among groupings of shrubs or open woodland, or in the northand east-facing borders of the house. A few can be used quite effectively as edgings to flower beds and borders, even in formal bedding schemes. In all cases it is worth-while to give the bulbs a good start by breaking up the soil well and mixing in a little compost or leaf mold if it is poor, though none of these subjects appreciates a really rich diet. With all of them, fairly close planting is the rule, and they should be put in during September and early October.

The First to Bloom. While the earth is still in the grip of winter, Snowdrops will delight with their dainty flowers the gardener who has been wise enough to plant them generously, for they must be seen en masse for their charms to be really appreciated.

Snowdrops are lovely in a woodland setting, or they may be planted with charming effect in the foreground of shrubberies or in grass, especially round the bases of lawn trees. They seem to appreciate a generous quantity of humus in the soil, and if planted 4 in. or so deep, and a similar distance apart, when happily established they will quickly increase and flower freely.

Glory of the Snow. Of all the miniature spring bulbs, the vivid blue Chionodoxas rank among the daintiest and brightest, and if planted in sunny positions in the rockery and elsewhere they will increase rapidly, flowering with greater freedom in each succeeding year, and seeding themselves about as well. They are also suitable for naturalizing in grass.

The Erythroniums or Dog's-Tooth Violets are dainty bulbous subjects for cool woodland, waterside or rock garden positions, with charmingly reflexed flowers carried a few inches above the mottled leaves. The roots should be set 3 in. deep and 6 in. apart.

Snake's head Fritillaries. The graceful Fritillaries bloom in April—May, their large drooping bell flowers mottled and checkered, and they are

admirable for planting beneath large trees, in grass, or in cool, semishady spots in the rockery. There are several named varieties of Fritillaria meleagris, notably Aphrodite, white; Artemis gray-purple; Purple King, deep wine purple; and Saturnus, purple-mauve. Plant 3 in. deep and 6 in. apart.

Stately Crown Imperial. This is another grand old garden favorite, most effective in bold groups in the mixed flower border, in the foreground of shrubberies, or other sunny, sheltered positions. If planted in fairly rich, well-cultivated soil and left undisturbed Crown Imperial (Fritillaria imperialis) will flower freely, the sturdy 3-ft. stems surmounted by clusters of large copper-red or yellow, drooping bells crowned with tufts of foliage.

Grape Hyacinths also rank among the indispensables, especially Muscari Heavenly Blue, which is so easy-tempered, increases rapidly by offsets and seeds, and produces with gay abandon in early March its dense heads of fragrant, gentian-blue flowers. It is lovely when planted in masses beneath shrubs or small trees, makes an attractive edging to spring flower beds, especially of Daffodils, and is useful for cutting, too. It thrives in any average garden soil.

A striking Grape Hyacinth is Muscari comosum plumosum, which bears in May large plumelike clusters of violet-blue flowers 8 in. high and is an interesting addition to the spring flower border or rock garden.

Siberian Squill. None of the miniature bulbs bears brighter blue flowers than the Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica), and its even more richly colored and rather more robust variety Spring Beauty. Naturally they are great favorites, and worth planting freely in sunny positions where they can be left undisturbed to bloom each year in March.

English Bluebells and Spanish Squills. Few sights are more attractive in spring than an English wood carpeted with Bluebells (Scilla nonscripta), and such a scene can be produced in miniature in the garden by planting them in grass beneath trees, or among shrubs, setting the tubers 6 in. deep. Even more effective for garden planting, in flower borders, shrubberies and copses, in semishady corners and bare spots, are the Spanish Squills, varieties of S. hispanica (S. campanulata).

Other Spring-blooming Bulbs. The Spring Snowflakes or Leucojums, with white, green-tipped, snowdrop-like flowers, are good for rock gardens in shady positions. Ornithogalum nutans will thrive in any soil in sunny or semishady positions. It bears large lovely silver-gray flowers on 18-in. stems in May. Other good spring-flowering hardy bulbs include Camassias, Calcohortus, Trillium, and Zigadenus.

Summer Flowering Bulbs. In addition to the many beautiful bulbous plants which bring such beauty to our gardens in spring, there are many equally lovely kinds that flower in summer and autumn. These include Alliums, Sternbergias, Colchicums and Lycoris.

By planting selections of English, Dutch and Spanish Irises, bright patches of color can be provided in the beds and borders in late spring and early summer. They do well in any good garden soil and are valuable for cutting.

Easy-to-Grow Lilies. No account of bulb flowers would be complete without mention of the hardy Lilies that add beauty and distinction to the flower borders throughout summer. As the majority are stem-rooting—they produce roots from the base of the stem above the bulb—it is a good plan to plant the bulbs deeply and later apply mulches of compost for the benefit of the stem roots.

Best of all to begin with is the Regal Lily, Lilium regale, and it is one of the most beautiful, bearing large heads of glistening white trumpet flowers, with golden throats, and shaded with wine-purple on the outside. It is splendid in the herbaceous border, or in beds by itself, and, incidentally, is quite easy to raise from seed.

That grand old favorite, the Madonna Lily (Lilium candidum), loves a sunny position in deep, loamy soil. It is one of the few Lilies that must be planted shallowly.

Other specially good kinds for the mixed flower border include the Orange Lily, (croceum), rich orange, spotted brown; Hansonii, golden-yellow, spotted mahogany; Henryi, orange-yellow; and the dwarf, richly colored varieties of umbellatum and elegans, in shades of yellow, orange and crimson. Many fine hybrid Lilies such as those listed as Fiesta Hybrids, Green Mountain Hybrids and Mid-Century Hybrids have been raised in recent years and are splendid additions to the garden.

Gladioli, Montbretias and Others. No flowers present a wider range of brilliant colors, or are more valuable for both garden display and cutting for flower arrangements in the home, than the modern large-flowered Gladioli and the smaller Primulinus and miniature types, which, planted in deeply cultivated, well-drained and Moderately rich soil, never fail to give a good account of themselves.

If planted in three or four batches in spring and early summer, they will give magnificent spikes of bloom from July well into autumn. They are very useful for grouping among dwarfer plants in the herbaceous border, while to provide spikes especially for cutting it is worth while planting a few rows of Gladioli in the vegetable garden or any spare plot.

The modern Montbretias, which have much larger flowers than the old type, are grand summer-flowering bulbous plants for sunny borders. Acidantheras are grown in the same way as Montbretias. In considering the summer bulbs, we must not overlook the white Summer Hyacinth (Galtonia candicans), which associates well with Gladioli, and the showy Tiger Flowers

(Tigridia), Tuberoses and Ismenes (Hymenocallis calathina), which thrive best in warm, sunny borders.

Full details concerning the cultivation, varieties, etc., of all of these bulbous plants are given under their respective names.

For Warmer Climates. In addition to bulbs that are hardy in the North, or are much used there for summer planting, there are others that are rarely used outdoors in the North but are well adapted for gardens in milder climates. Among these are Agapanthus, Eucomis, Albuca, Gloriosa, Tulbaghia, Amarcrinum, Amaryllis, Cooperia, Crinum, Elisena, Habranthus, Vallota, Zephyranthes, Sparaxis, Ixia, Freesia, Lachenalia, Schizostylis, Tritonia, Babiana, Hippeastrum, Alstroemeria, and Watsonia. For details of cultivation consult the entries under each of these names.

In Homes and Greenhouses

Bulbs (using the word in a broad sense to include corms, tubers and other bulblike organs) grown in greenhouses and as house plants fall into two distinct groups. The first consists of such bulbs as Hippeastrums (Amaryllis), Gloriosas and Haemanthus, which are cultivated as permanent plants and normally bloom indoors every year over a long period. The second group contains bulbs such as Hyacinths, Lilies, Narcissi and Tulips, which are forced inip bloom early indoors and then are discarded or planted outdoors because they will not produce flowers indoors satisfactorily a second season.

The types in the second group are sometimes called forcing bulbs. They are mostly hardy kinds that must experience cold winters to thrive. There are some few tender bulbs such as Freesias, which, although they can be grown and flowered indoors year after year, are most often discarded after they have bloomed once. This is because they are grown to produce cut flowers and, as soon as they bloom, all the foliage is cut off with the flowers; hence the plants do not have an opportunity to build up strong blooming-size bulbs for the following season.

Permanent Bulbs for Indoors. Among the most


Bulb Planting Table

Subject

When to

Plant

Depth to Top of Bulb (in.)

Distante

Apart

(in.)

Allium

Sept.-Oct.

2-3

3-9

Anemone

Oct.-Feb.

2

5

Belladonna Lily

Aug.

6

9

Brodiaea

Sept.

3-4

6

Bulbocodium

Aug.-Sept.

2

3

Camassia

Sept.

3-4

5

Chionodoxa

Sept.

3

4

Colchicum

Aug.

4

9

Crocus

Aug.-Sept.

2

3

Crown Imperial

Sept.

4-5

12

Cyclamen

Aug.-Sept.

1

4-6

Daffodil (Narcissus)

Sept.-Oct.

3-4

6

English Bluebell

Sept.

6

4

Erythronium

Aug.-Sept.

3

6

Fritillaria

Sept.

3

6

Galtonia

Nov.

6

12

Gladiolus

Mar.-Apr.

4

9

Hyacinth

Oct.

3

8

Iris (bulbous)

Sept.-Oct.

3-4

6

Ixia

Oct.

3

3

Lily of the Valley

Oct.

1

5

Lilies (most kinds)

Oct.-Feb.

3-8

12

Madonna Lily

Aug.

2

12

Montbretia

Mar.-Apr.

3

6

Muscari

Sept.-Oct.

3

3

Puschkinia

Sept.

3

3

Ranunculus

Oct.-Feb.

2

4

Schizostylis

Mar.-Apr.

2

6

Scilla sibirica

Sept.

2

3

Spanish Squill

Sept.

6

6

Snowdrop

Aug.

4-6

4

Snowflake

Sept.

4

6

Sternbergia

July

3

4

Tigridia

Mar.-Apr.

3

6

Triteleia

Aug.-Sept.

3

6

Tulip

Oct.-Nov.

3-4

8-9

Watsonia

Mar.

4

9

Winter Aconite

Aug.

3

4

decorative and interesting bulb plants for cultivating as permanent inhabitants of sunrooms, window gardens and .greenhouses are those mentioned below. Directions for their cultivation will be found under their respective names in this Encyclopedia.

Achimenes are charming Gloxinia relatives that bloom over a long period in summer. Brodiaea uniflora is a delightful little bulb for producing winter or spring blooms indoors.


Crinodonnas are rather massive plants suitable for growing in greenhouses, but are usually too large for use as house plants. Crinums are also generally too big to be grown in window gardens and sunrooms but are fine greenhouse subjects. Cyrtanthus are charming plants for a cool, sunny greenhouse.

Elisena is an interesting bulb to grow in greenhouses. Eucharis, the Amazon Lily, flowers two or three times a year when grown in a tropical greenhouse, and its handsome blooms are deliciously fragrant. Eucomis, the Pineapple Flower, is of curious appearance and is adaptable for window-garden as well as greenhouse cultivation. Freesias are fragrant and lovely spring bloomers, best adapted for greenhouse culture.

Gloriosas are excellent for greenhouse, sun-room and window-garden culture. Gloxinias are fine bulbs for summer blooming indoors. Habranthus is easy to grow in window gardens and greenhouses. Haemanthus, the Blood Lily, is also excellent for cultivating in houses and greenhouses.

Hippeastrums (Amaryllis) are among the most popular and most spectacular of all tender bulbs. They are suitable for growing in houses and greenhouses. Hydrosme, the Devil's-Tongue, may be grown as a curiosity in the house or greenhouse. Hymenocallis, the Spider Lily, includes many kinds that are adaptable for greenhouses and large sunrooms. Kohlerias, often called Isolomas, are Gloxinia relatives suitable for greenhouse cultivation.

Lachenalias are among the most charming of winterand spring-blooming bulbs. They require a cool greenhouse for their successful culture. Nerines are among the finest of falland winter-flowering bulbs for growing in cool greenhouses.

Ornithogalum caudatum and some other kinds are adaptable for permanent indoor cultivation in window gardens and greenhouses. Oxalis of many kinds lend themselves well to permanent culture indoors.

Schizobasopsis is a curiosity that is occasionally grown in window gardens and greenhouses. Smithianthas, formerly called Naegelias, are related to Gloxinias and are good summer bloom ers for greenhouse cultivation. Sparaxis are excellent for growing under conditions that suit Freesias, and bear gorgeous flowers in winter and spring. Tritonias are similar to Sparaxis and require the same conditions.

Tuberous Begonias are among the most satisfactory of summer-blooming bulbs for cultivating indoors. Urginea, the Sea Onion, is a worthwhile curiosity for growing as a window plant or in greenhouses. Veltheimias are delightful plants for winter flowering in either window

garden or greenhouse. Watsonias are excellent for cool greenhouse culture. Zantedeschias (Calla Lilies) are excellent greenhouse plants.

Indoor Forcing Bulbs. Bulbs of kinds that may be bloomed only ,once indoors are forced in greenhouses to produce flowers for cutting and to be used as decorative pot plants. In window gardens they are usually grown for the latter purpose. There are three chief methods of culture. The bulbs may be grown in soil in well-drained pots, pans or flats (flats are used chiefly when bulbs are forced for cut flowers); they may be grown in bulb fiber or vermiculite in drained or undrained pots, pans, bowls and similar receptacles; and some kinds may be grown in water, or water and pebbles.

As an inexpensive means of providing floral decorations in the home during the drab months of winter and early spring, the early bulb flowers are pre-eminent, and even the least skilled amateur gardener can grow them successfully, provided one or two simple rules are followed carefully.

In Fiber or Vermiculite. By growing suitable kinds and varieties in ornamental bowls of fiber or vermiculite a colorful and continuous display may be obtained. This fiber is light and clean to use, and it consists of fibrous peat, crushed shell or porous rock and a little charcoal to keep it sweet. Bulb fiber is also sold as bulb planter mix. As supplied by the dealer, the fiber is dust-dry, and before use it should be moistened thoroughly, but not saturated. If sprinkled with water and mixed several times, then left overnight, it will be in good condition for use the following morning.

Filling the Bowls. If glazed bowls are used, it is an advantage, although not essential, to place a few pieces of charcoal, or broken brick, at the bottom, as these will help to keep the fiber sweet until the bowls are full of roots. If porous earthenware bowls are used, such precautions are unnecessary, but remember that these are liable to cause damp marks on window sills and tables and so should be stood on glazed tiles or small squares of linoleum.

The bowls should be filled to the top with fiber, which is then pressed down lightly, but not hard. Holes are then scooped in the fiber in which to set the bulbs, and when these are in position the fiber is pressed lightly between them, leaving sufficient space at the top for watering. If the fiber is pressed in so firmly that the bulbs rest on a hard base, the roots, especially of the bigger bulbs—Hyacinths, Daffodils and Tulips—will not be able to penetrate it easily and so may push the bulbs upwards.

In Pots of Soil. Provided the containers are adequately drained, all of the bulbs recommended here for culture in fiber and vermiculite can be grown just as easily in good ordinary soil, and by following the same general cultural procedures.

Tall-growing kinds such as Bulbous Irises, Narcissi, and such Tulips as Darwins, Cottage, Triumph and Breeders may be accommodated in pots or, if grown for cutting, in deep flats. Shorter-growing kinds, such as Hyacinths, early-flowering Tulips, Crocuses, Snowdrops and Scillas, are most frequently planted in pans but sometimes are grown in pots. Lilies are almost always grown in pots.

Lilies are normally planted one bulb to a pot and Hyacinths of ten are, but in all other cases it is the usual practice to set several bulbs in a container, spacing them so that they nearly touch each other.

Starting Them into Growth. The spring-flowering bulbs naturally develop plenty of roots before they commence to make top growth, and this habit is encouraged by starting them in the dark. When planted their tops should be just showing. They should be watered moderately.

The ideal method of starting the bulbs is to stand them outdoors on a bed of sifted coal ashes, then heap sand or moist peat over them so that they are buried 6-8 in. deep. Unfortunately, this method is likely to disfigure "fancy" bowls, and so recourse must be had to standing them in a dark ventilated cellar, porch or garage, where they must of course be watered when necessary to keep the roots uniformly damp, but not wet. Bowls without drainage holes in their bottoms, that are planted with bulbs, should never be buried outdoors but always be kept in a cool, dark place indoors during the rooting period.

In from 6 to 10 weeks, according to kind, the bulbs will have developed a mass of roots, and they will have plump white buds an inch or so

high. They are then ready for moving to a sunny window sill, but they must be shaded with paper for a few days, as too rapid exposure to sunlight may check them severely or cause them to go "blind," that is, the flower buds may wither. It is of great importance that the temperature during the rooting period be kept as close to 40 degrees F. as possible and that the temperature of the room into which they are brought for further growth be 50-60 degrees F. rather than markedly higher.

Watering and Feeding. Once the bulbs have been started into growth, they must never be allowed to become dry, for if this occurs the venture is sure to end in failure. As growth advances they will need to be inspected for watering frequently. Bulbs in drained pots in soil may need daily watering, those in undrained containers in fiber or vermiculite will need less frequent attention. Keep the rooting medium constantly moist, but not waterlogged. When water is given, it is best poured in at the side of the bowl, for, with Hyacinths especially, frequent overhead watering, which causes water to lodge in the centers of the leaf clusters, may cause the flower buds to rot. Bulbs growing in drained containers may be given weekly applications of dilute liquid fertilizer after they are well rooted; those in undrained containers should not be fertilized.

The ideal room temperature for forcing Hyacinths, Narcissi and Daffodils, and Tulips into early bloom, is one between 55 and 60 degrees F., with a drop of 5 degrees at night, and the room should be ventilated freely when outside conditions permit. Care must be taken, however, not to expose the plants to cold drafts.

Important Precautions. When plants are grown in room windows, they naturally tend to lean towards the light, and so the bowls of bulbs should be turned around each time they are watered to prevent them from becoming lopsided.

When the weather turns really cold, even although the room is heated, frost may penetrate to plants on the window sill and harm them, and so it is wise, when there is a possibility of frost to move the bulbs away from the window.

Narcissi and Trumpet Daffodils tend to flop over when in full leaf and bloom; and, to prevent their becoming unsightly, light support is desirable. The best method is to insert 3 or 4 thin stakes or canes near the sides of the bowls, either when the bulbs are set, or when they are brought into the light, so that by the time they are needed they will be held securely by the massed roots of the bulbs. It is then an easy matter to connect them with thin strands of raffia to support the leaves and flowers.

For Earliest Bloom. Not all of the bulbs that bloom naturally in spring can be forced into growth in the warmth of a living room or greenhouse to give flowers at Christmas time or early in the New Year; indeed, subjects for this treatment must be selected carefully. A few of the most suitable bulb flowers for the purpose are as follows:

The dainty, small-bulbed white Roman Hyacinth is a favorite for Christmas flowering and is easily grown in bowls of fiber. If the bulbs are set close together in the bowls about mid-September, each will produce several elegant little sprays of fragrant white flowers from mid-December onwards. Others of this type, to give variety in color, are the Cynthella or Miniature Hyacinths in shades of white, primrose-yellow, pink, red and blue; and the charming little fairy Hyacinth named Rosalie, deep rose-pink, and Blue Pearl, porcelain blue, a recent introduction of merit.

Some of the bunch-flowered or Polyanthus (Tazetta) Narcissi can be had in bloom quite easily by Christmas if started in September, es

pecially the sweet-scented Paper White, and yellow, orange-cupped variety Grand Soleil d'Or and the pale yellow kind called Chinese Sacred Lily (Narcissus Tazetta variety orientalis).

Of the Trumpet Daffodils, varieties recommended specially for very early flowering include King Alfred, Magnificence, Golden Harvest, Spring Glory, and Godolphin.

To continue the display in succession to the very early-flowering bulbs, small batches should be placed in bowls or pots at intervals of a few weeks until late October. For flowering early in the New Year, the following kinds are recommended.

Specially prepared bulbs of large-flowered Hyacinths will bloom in January in gentle warmth, but they must not be forced quickly as this may cause the flower spikes to rot off. Some large, untreated bulbs may be used to give bloom from mid-February onwards, and good selections of these are offered by the dealers. For successful cultivation in bowls, top-sized bulbs only should be used, and for best effect it is wise to limit each bowl to a single variety.

The early single and double Tulips are most satisfactory for house cultivation as they are naturally dwarfer than the Mendel and Darwin Tulips, which under house conditions tend to become spindly. Some M the most satisfactory early Tulips for bowl culture are:—Singles: Couleur Cardinal, General de Wet, Ibis, Montresor, Van der Neer; Doubles: Electra, Marechal Niel, Murillo, Orange Nassau, Peach Blossom.

Growing Hyacinths in Glasses. An old-fashioned but very fascinating method of growing Hyacinths is in special glasses, which are cupped at the top to hold the bulbs. Top-sized bulbs should be used, and their bases carefully cleaned of the remains of old roots. Two or three small pieces of charcoal placed in the glass will help to keep the water sweet, and the bulbs are set with their bases just touching the water, then placed in a dark room or cellar until their buds are 4 in. high, when they can be brought into the light, but not too bright to begin with. The water will need adding to occasionally, but should not be changed.

Another old-fashioned method of growing spring bulbs, especially the bunch-flowered Narcissi, is in bowls of small, clean pebbles and water. The early Trumpet Daffodils also do well in pebbles, with the bulbs packed closely together, and Hyacinths are successful. Bulbs planted in pebbles must be permitted to develop good root systems in a cool, frost-free place before they are placed in living rooms.

Best Way with Miniature Bulbs. In addition to Hyacinths, Daffodils and Narcissi, and early Tulips, some of the small or miniature spring-flowering bulbs are delightful subjects for house decoration, but generally they do better in pots or small pans of soil than in bowls of fiber and no attempt should be made to force them in high temperatures. They are best adapted for cool sunrooms. The most suitable kinds include Crocuses, both large-flowered and species; Glory of the Snow (Chionodoxa Luciliae); Grape Hyacinth (Muscari Heavenly Blue), quite satisfactory in fiber; fragrant deep-violet Iris reticulata; Siberian Squill (Scilla sibirica), and the variety Spring Beauty; and the miniature Daffodils, especially the Hoop Petticoat (Narcissus Bulbocodium), Angel's Tears (N. triandrus); and Cyclamen-flowered (C. cyclamineus).

Ideal for Miniature Gardens. The dainty little bulbs named above are also very attractive when

associated with dwarf rock plants in miniature table gardens, the bulbs being set in clusters of 3 or 4 among Sempervivums or other suitable kinds. Charming table decorations can also be made by growing the bulbs closely in small pots, then transplanting them to bowls just as they are coming into bloom.

When the flowers have faded the bulbs of Daffodils should be cared for by being kept moist as long as the leaves remain green. In April they may be planted out of doors in the garden where they will gradually become established and spread. The Hyacinth bulbs may also be planted out of doors in odd places in the less formal parts of the garden, but there they will not yield large compact spikes of bloom such as the bulbs produced in their first year indoors. Snowdrop, Scilla, Crocus, Fritillary and Glory of the Snow may also be planted out of doors, but the Roman Hyacinth, Paper White Narcissus and early Tulips are not worth keeping.

Ideal for Window Boxes. Bulbs are invaluable for the springtime display of flowers in window boxes, especially the Trumpet Daffodils, Hyacinths, Early and Triumph Tulips, Dutch Crocuses and Muscari, grown separately, or in association with spring bedding plants like Primroses and Polyanthus Primroses, Arabis, Pansies, and English Daisies. The bigger bulbs, i.e., Daffodils,

Hyacinths and Tulips, may be grown in fiber if desired, but generally it is more satisfactory to plant them in good soil. If the boxes are filled with evergreens during the winter, bulbs may be grown in pots during the winter and set in the boxes when showing flower buds.

 



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