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    Gardening: Bedding plants encyclopedia: A

    Abutilon (Arabic name for species of Mallow) [Malvaceae]

    A few species are particularly useful foliage plants, principally by reason of their variegation. It is perhaps interesting to note that in one of the most useful, both as a 'foliage' plant in bedding and as a decorative plant, A. striatum thompsonii the remarkable golden marbled variegation is due to a transmittable virus, i.e. if a variegated shoot is grafted on a green stock this stock will later become variegated.

    Culture. All species for garden decoration are tender, occasionally surviving on a warm wall in the warmer counties. They grow well in compost of equal parts of turfy loam, peat and leaftnould, with a good gritty sand. They are easily propagated by cuttings taken either in spring or autumn. Old wood strikes easily. Root in a propagating case or in a close temperature of 65ºF., in a sandy compost. Pot on when rooted. Spring-rooted plants will make 2- to 3-foot foliage plants in their first season. For making larger plants those from the previous season may be potted in the autumn, using pots as small as possible, keeping them fairly dry and cool during the winter, repotting as necessary in the spring and growing on in a temperature of from 55º to 60ºF.

    A. striatum thompsonii. 3 to 5 feet. One of the best golden variegated plants for subtropical effects, or as a specimen among such plants as Salvia splendens. It is richly marked with yellow and dark green. Bears attractive orange flowers with a rich red veining.

    A. inegapotamicum (syn. A. vexillarium). 5 to 8 feet. At one time much used for training into shapes (i.e. balloon, pyramid or pillar). Such growing needs several years training indoors over wires and canes to the desired shape. These can be used singly in tubs or take their place in foliage beds. Today its principal use is as a one-year or two-year specimen plant for the display of its remarkably beautiful red and yellow 'Chinese lantern' flowers.

    A. hybridum. This general name is given to the many hybrids which have been raised, principally between A. darwinii and A. striatum. Well-known varieties are Boule de Neige, white, Golden Fleece, yellow, Red Ashfold, Royal Scarlet. Possibly the best-known is A. hybridum savitzii which bears creamy-yellow and green variegated leaves, the general effect being silvery. Principally used for indoor decorative effect but useful in southern districts as a plunged foliage subject.

    Acaena (akaina, thorn, the calyx being hooked) [Rosaceae]

    A. microphylla. 1 to 2 inches. A mat-making, compact evergreen. It is occasion- ally used in carpet bedding. Its leaves vary from grey to rosy bronze. The latter form is most valued, stock being selected to give a consistent colour. These plants are propagated by division in the spring.

    Acanthus (akanthos, a spine) Bear's Breeches [Acanthaceae]

    A genus of stately ornamental perennials mostly from the Mediterranean region. As their beauty is not seen until they are well established they are best used as isolated specimens in the background to subtropical bedding. All are easily propagated by division.

    A. mollis latifollus. 3 to 5 feet. Larger and more robust than the type, this plant has a noble and arresting outline which it retains throughout the growing season. White flowers.

    A. spinosus. 3 to 4 feet. One of the finest of thoroughly hardy foliage plants, bearing purplish flowers in somewhat hairy spikes a foot or more in length. It is very free in growth, quite distinct, forming roundish masses of dark green leaves with a profusion of glistening spines which serve to distinguish it from its relatives.

    Acer (Latin name for Maple) [Aceraceae]

    There are all too few small trees which are sufficiently restrained in growth and delicate in form to be of use in adding height and form to large and distant beds. A few acers are noteworthy exceptions.

    A. negundo. Box Elder. Practically useless in its common form, the variegated types are among the most popular of variegated trees.

    A. n. aureutn marginatum. 1-inch margins of yellow.

    A. n. aureum varlegatum. Beautifully dappled with yellow. A. n. varlegatum. Dappled with white and pale green.

    Variegated effects appear to be heightened by severe restriction of root run when tubbed. They should never be allowed to dry out or leaf size and numbers will suffer severely.

    Either half-standards (3 feet) or standards (5 feet) may be used.

    Achillea (After Achilles who, used it for healing wounds) [Compositae]

    A. umbellata. Used in carpet bedding. A dwarf, compact, grey-foliaged plant of tufted habit, similar in habit to but dwarfer than A. clavennae. Good as an edging. It may be propagated by division or cuttings in August.

    A. umbellata argentea. Similar to the type but with more silvery leaves and, therefore, more useful in carpet bedding.

    In both plants the flowers, which appear from June to August, should be picked off.

    A. taygetea (syns. A. aegyptica, A. tournefortil). 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 feet. Finely cut, pinnate, slightly drooping grey-foliaged plant, useful as a dot plant. It appreciates a warm position.

    Aeoniam (name used by Dioscorides for A. arboreum) [Crassulaceae]

    A genus closely related to Sempervivurn.

    A. tabuldeforme (syn. Semperviyum tabuldeforme). Broad rosettes of leaves which lie flat on the ground, 6 to 12 inches across. A striking plant when used in carpet bedding; it may be placed either as a dot plant or an edging.

    Agapanthus (agape, love, anthos, flower) [Liliaceae]

    Handsome S. African perennial herbs with thick fleshy creeping rootstocks and handsome strap-shaped leaves. Often used for display in tubs on terraces, squares etc., for their numerous large umbels in varying shades of blue or white.

    They fall into two groups, one evergreen and half-hardy as A. orientalis; the other deciduous and hardy as A. patens. The latter group may be useful in planting permanent backgrounds to subtropical subjects.

    Species not hardy must be removed in their tubs to frostproof quarters for the winter where they should be kept moderately dry. Divide in spring if necessary. A suitable medium is J.I.P.3, lining the tub generously with decayed manure. During the summer copious supplies of water should be given. Manure water may be given weekly up to flowering, after which drying off should be gradual. Nomenclature has been confused and is not well known. The correct name of A. umbellatus is A. africanus. Most plants grown under this name are in fact hybrids. A. u. mooreanus is probably A. patens.

    A. africanus (syn. A. umbellatus). Evergreen, half-hardy, late flowering, deep blue or violet.

    A. orientalis (syn. A. umbellatus). Evergreen, half-hardy, many forms blue, pale blue and white. Most common species in cultivation. The variety giganteus may have up to 200 flowers in an umbel. Dark blue.

    A. campanulatus (syn. A. umbellatus). Deciduous, mid-season, blue or white. A. patens (syn. A. u. mooreanus). Deciduous, dwarf, white or blue, early, hardy.

    Agave (from the Greek agavos-admirable) Century Plant [Amaryllidaceae]

    The common name has been derived from the erroneous impression that the plants took 100 years to flower. In fact it may be as little as 8 years and is rarely more than 30 years.

    They form large rosettes of long, thick leathery leaves ending in a sharp spine; many have toothed edges also.

    All are natives of Central America, principally Mexico. The national drink Of that country, pulque, is obtained by cutting out the flower spike just as it begins to develop, the sweet sap which then exudes is collected and fermented. Sap may continue to flow for 3 to 4 months.

    A. americana (syn. A. virginiana). Forms a very large rosette of leathery grey green leaves up to 3 feet long. Flower spike up to 25 feet. Native of Mexico; naturalized around the Mediterranean.

    A. americana marginata (syn. variegata). Similar with gold or white margins to the leaves.

    A. lophantha. A variable species having a rosette of 3 feet long, toothed dark green leaves. Flower spike up to 15 feet.

    The above species or their many varieties are suited to subtropical gardening and small plants may be used in carpet bedding.

    They may be used by plunging them in their pots out of doors for the summer and bringing them into frost-proof surroundings for the winter. One reason for their diminishing use may well be the amount of room they require to overwinter.

    They may all be propagated by offiets or by seed.

    Ageratum (a-not, geras-old, the flowers remain a clear colour for a long time) [Compositae]

    Half-hardy annuals. Principally used as an edging or a groundwork in its blue form.

    Many bedding varieties have their origin in two Central American species A. houstonianum and A. conyzoldes. Their crossing and subsequent selections has given rise to a number of dwarf, compact varieties. Originally these were blue but a number of purple, pink and white varieties are now available.

    Culture. Standard H.H.A. Sow in February. Space 9 inches apart.

    Varieties. Blue Ball, 6 to 8 inches. Large bright blue flowers.

    Blue Cap, 6 inches. Dwarfer than Blue Ball. Deeper blue and more compact.

    Blue Mink, 6 to 8 inches. A tetraploid variety. Large powder blue trusses of flowers. Capri, 4 inches. Very dwarf. Lavender blue. Imperial Dwarf Blue, 9 inches. Possibly the best blue bedding variety.

    Imperial Dwarf White, 9 inches. Possibly the best white bedding variety. Fairy Pink, 6 inches. Dwarf, compact, soft pink flowers.

    Little Blue Star, 6 inches. Good dwarf, very compact, deep blue. Purple Perfection, 9 inches. Excellent, very deep blue.

    A. houstonlanum (syn. A. mexicanum) (tall blue). 18 inches, lavender blue. Space 12 inches apart.

    Excellent for breaking the flatness of dwarfer ageratums by interplanting. Also as a pot plant for the cool greenhouse.

    Ailanthus (native name, Ailanto, meaning Tree of Heaven) [Sintarubaceae]

    A. altissima (syn. A. glandulosa). Tree of Heaven. May be used either as a background specimen permanently planted or in a plunged tub to provide foliage effect in subtropical bedding.

    It must be kept in a young state, by planting small and cutting down annually, taking care that it does not break into an irregular head as then the symmetry of its leaf beauty becomes confused. Vigorous young plants will produce enormous handsome arching odd-pinnate leaves (13-25 leaflets) whose beauty and effect is unsurpassed by any stove plant.

    A. giraldii. Somewhat similar to the above but with even larger longer leaves of 33-41 leaflets.

    Propagation is easily effected by root cuttings in moist warmth.

    Ajuga (meaning not yoked, referring to the calyx) [Labiatae]

    A. reptans atropurpurea. Purple-leaved Bugle. This dark purple-leaved variant of our native wild flower is useful in carpet bedding to provide dark panels. It enjoys a deep moist root run but must have full sun to colour really well. A difficult combination of factors. It may be propagated by division in spring.

    Albizzia (after Albizzi, an Italian naturalist) [Leguminosae]

    A genus somewhat similar to Acacia.

    A. julibrissin and A. lophantha. Both species make handsome foliage plants as dot plants or for foliage contrast, being of graceful habit and bearing elegant fern-like foliage. They may be raised from seed sown in heat in early spring and can attain a height of 5 feet in one season.

    Cut back specimens may be overwintered in frost-proof conditions and used a second time. It is best kept to a single stem for maximum leaf growth and grace.

    Aloe (from Aloeh, the Arabic name) [Liliaceae]

    A genus of succulent plants, mostly S. African. Some species can be used in carpet bedding and most of them appreciate the summer outdoors, possibly incorporated in a mixed bed of succulents and cacti.

    A. arborescens. The common tree aloe, ultimately reaching 10 to 12 feet high. Offsets are freely produced and if left intact give a bushy appearance to the plants.

    A. brevifolia. A low growing succulent with short thick pale green leaves. Its neat dwarf habit lends itself for edging or for use in carpet bedding.

    A. ferox. The large leaves form a dense rosette and they have spines along the edges. Reaches 12 feet high ultimately.

    A. varlegata. The Partridge-breasted Aloe. The leaves are triangular shaped and are arranged in three ranks with white mottling in bands round the leaves. Can be used for carpet bedding where the peculiarities of the plant can be utilized.

    Alsophila (from alsos, a grove, and philos, loving) [Cyatheaceae]

    A. excelsa. A noble tree fern, native of Norfolk Island and Queensland where it attains a height of 30 to 40 feet, crowned with a magnificent circular crest of fronds. These fall off every year leaving an indentation in the trunk. It stands well in shady, moist, well-sheltered places from June to September, and should have cool-house treatment during the winter. As with all tree ferns very little pot room will suffice. Pot in a mixture of 3 parts of peat, I part of loam and I part of sand; in this they will grow luxuriantly for years if plentifully supplied with water.

    A. austrafts. Similar, but slower growing.

    Alternanthera (in most species alternate anthers are barren) Joy Weed [Amaranthaceae]

    A genus of plants tolerant of clipping or frequent pinching and with brightly coloured foliage; a combination which makes them specially suited to carpet bedding, floral clocks, etc. For this purpose a large number of small plants are used. The flowers are insignificant and if produced freely should be picked off. It is not an easy plant to overwinter. Old plants should be potted or plunged in a heated frame in the autumn. Cuttings can be obtained from these in the spring, but a better plan, perhaps, is to root cuttings in August using these as stock plants the following spring; such rooted cuttings can be overwintered in boxes without transplanting. Good colour in the young plants can be obtained only by growing in the full fight and warmth of the sun.

    A. amoena. A very good species veined and blotched yellow and red on a green ground. It has varieties rosea, sessilis -and spectabifis.

    A. bettziekiana. A charming olive and red foliaged species from Brazil. The following varieties are grown:

    • aurea. Narrow-leaved bright golden yellow.
    • magnifica. A particularly bright form of the type. Near purple in the fun sun.
    • paronychloldes. A good dense compact form; deep orange red, shaded with olive green. The young leaves are tinged with red.
    • spathaluta. 6 to 8 inches. Both leaves and stem are red, shaded with bronze and green.

    A. ficoides (syn. A. amabills). Creeping angled stems; leaves striped red and green.

    A. versicolor. 8 to 10 inches. Bright rose pink and crimson overlaid with bronzy green.

    Alyssum (a-not, Jyssa-rage, from a reputation of allaying anger, held in ancient times) Madwort [Cruciferae]

    A. maritimum (syns. Alyssum odoratum, and Koeniga maritima, and strictly Lobularla maritima, but as it is likely to be known as A. maritimum in catalogues for many years to come it is here described under that name).

    This very useful annual from S. Europe and W. Asia is very easy to grow, dwarf and of spreading habit. Its sweet scent is a further attraction. It can be treated either as a hardy annual, sowing direct in the open ground in April and May or it may be treated as a late-sown half-hardy annual (March). In the warmer counties it will often maintain itself by self-sowing. It is reputed to be a good bee plant.

    Varieties. Little Dorrit, 4 inches. An old pure white variety, making neat little bushes with flower heads in erect masses.

    Lilac Queen, 4 inches. A dwarf compact deep lilac.

    Velvet Queen, 4 to 6 inches. A rich violet selection from Lilac Queen. The flowers deepen from lilac to a full violet with age-a charming effect. Snow Queen, 3 to 4 inches. Also known as Snow Cloth, it produces a flat compact mass of pure white flowers. It may make 12 inches across. minimum, 3 inches. An exceptionally dwarf compact white variety. A. saxatile. Infrequently used in spring bedding as a golden yellow foil for other colours. Usually grown in 5-inch pots for this purpose. If pinched back after flowering somewhat woody very free flowered plants may result. Available forms include:

    • A. s. citrinum (syn. sulphureum). Lemon yellow.
    • A. s. compactum. Close growing very free flowering.
    • A. s. plenum. Bright double form.
    • A. s. variegatum. Variegated yellow and grey green.

    Amaranthus (a-not, maraino-to wither, some flowers retaining colour for long periods) [Amaranthaceae]

    A genus of annuals some of which are useful in subtropical and other foliage bedding. The seed should be sown in warm moist conditions in early spring. These should be potted on while still small into 3-inch pots in a rich compost, given temperate moist conditions and brought to planting stage in 5-inch pots, well hardened off. They should have plenty of light to improve their colour.

    A. caudatus. Love lies Bleeding, 2 to 3 feet. Remarkable for its long drooping particles, white in the form albifiorus, scarlet in the type: erect and blood red in atropurpureus. Pygmy is dwarf, 12 to 15 inches, and deep crimson.

    A. tricolor (syn. A. gangeticus). A species with very variable and richly coloured foliage. Among the best variants are:

    melancholicus ruber, a rich ruby or purple tint.

    Fire King, scarlet flowered and dark red.

    Joseph's Coat, perhaps the most remarkably coloured of all, a 3-foot plant with flowers borne in panicles of bright red, its foliage being patterned in brown, dark green, scarlet and golden yellow. It makes an admirable contrast with such grey foliaged plants as Cineraria maritima.

    The foliage of these varieties is exceedingly ornamental, rivalling the finest flowers in the richness of their hues. Planted with large-leaved plants such as cannas, wigandias, ricinus etc., they are most effective.

    Anchusa (anchousa, paint for the skin) [Boraginaceae]

    A. capensis. An attractive species from S. Africa with pure rich blue flowers. It should be used much more freely than it is at present. It is easily grown, most free flowering and quite at home in most garden soils.

    Culture. H.H.A. March. Space I foot.

    Varieties. Sky Blue. The purest of forget-me-not blues. 18 inches. Bedding Blue. Rather dwarfer, 15 inches. Pure rich blue.

    Blue Bird. A vivid indigo blue of compact even habit. 18 inches.

    Antennaria (antennae-the seed down resembles a butterfly's antennae) [Compositael]

    A. dioica minima (syn. A. tomentosa). A species grown for carpet bedding. It is one of the dwarfest and best of silver-leaved plants. It scarcely grows more than I inch high and forms a dense carpet in a short space of time. It may be propagated by division of the roots in spring, planting out in the open in nursery beds. It is essential that plenty of water is given until established. It is one of the best plants for the 'walls' of a bed, soon making a close mat which supports them admirably.

    Antirrhinum (anti-like, rhin, snout, alluding to shape of corolla) Snapdragon [Scrophulariaceae]

    Strictly perennial and nearly hardy this plant succeeds in any light welldrained soil. A good plant on chalk.

    The infinitely variable forms which comprise the modern bedding antirrhinum are descendants of A. majus which hails from the Mediterranean where it is a 3 to 4 foot plant and has a colour range from purple through red, yellow to white. It is usually treated as a half-hardy annual for bedding purposes and for garden decoration. Seed may be sown in February and March in a temperature of 50º to 55ºF and if the seedlings are grown on steadily good plants will be obtained for planting out in late May and June. Seedlings should be pricked out as soon as large enough to handle, giving them sufficient room to enable them to grow steadily; 48 per seed box is ample. When growing steadily transfer to a cool frame for hardening off, pinching out the growing points to produce bushy plants. For bedding and decorative purposes they fall into the following height habit groups:

    A. majus maximum. Tall varieties, about 3 feet, indispensable for forming bold groups in large beds and borders. Spacing 18 inches. The flowers are very large and produced on long spikes.

    Many good varieties are listed in the catalogues of the principal seed houses, often under different names. For this reason and because of rapid improvement in varieties the colour range only is here indicated in each group: white, golden yellow, apricot, scarlet, pale pink, rich pink, carmine pink, coral red, deep crimson, orange scarlet, rose cerise, crimson purple, soft rose.

    A. majus nanum. This is the ever-popular intermediate group 1 1/2 to 2 feet in height, much branched and the most suited to bedding. Space 12 inches. Varietal names are legion, covering the following colour range: white, pale primrose yellow, golden yellow, buff pink, apricot, scarlet and yellow, orange scarlet, pale pink, silvery pink, rich pink, salmon rose, scarlet, crimson, orange cerise, mauve, purple.

    A. majus nanum grandiflorum. This is a giant-flowered strain of intermediate antirrhinums, known variously as 'Triumph', 'Majestic' or 'Giant Flowered' type. It is a particularly fine strain, with larger individual flowers and a particularly sturdy central spike. Colour range is as for the intermediates.

    A. majus var pumilum (A. nanum compactum). These are the dwarf (9 inches) or Tom Thumb varieties. They are admirable for small beds or for edging. Space 9 to 12 inches. The colour range is: amber, apricot, rose pink, crimson, shell pink, golden yellow, orange scarlet, white, carmine, scarlet.

    The most effective insurance against the serious disease Antirrhinum Rust is undoubtedly a rust-resistant variety. The following are the best-known at the present time. Though the colour range is not good they represent a solid and very worthy start to what must eventually be a complete colour range. All are 18 inches tall:

    • Wisley Bridesmaid, pink.
    • Wisley Cheerful, golden pink.
    • Wisley Golden Fleece, sulphur yellow.
    • Pink Freedom, almond pink.
    • Victory, strong buff pink.
    • Orange Glow, orange cerise.

    A recent introduction from America has been the tetraploid varieties. They represent an extremely robust and strong-growing race, having exceptionally large individual flowers in a great variety of colours. They are not yet commonly available in distinct varieties but they make a strong appeal to those whose taste runs to very large flowers. Height 2 to 2 1/2 feet. Space 15 inches.

    Arabis (from Arabia) [Cruciferae]

    A. albidaflore-pleno. 6 to 9 inches. In a family of over 100 species this is the only one used in bedding. It is of a loose, mat-forming habit and is principally used as a carpet for early tulips and other erect growing bulbs. Its masses of flowers which are not unlike miniature double white stocks form a dense carpet.

    Propagation is best by cuttings inserted in September. Cuttings 3 inches long will soon root in a cold frame if kept close and shaded. These may be bedded out after planting the bulbs. Larger plants can be had by dividing the clumps when they are lifted to make way for summer bedding. These may be lined out in nursery rows.

    There are two variants of the form described above. These are rosa-bella, a soft pink form, and variegata, the foliage of which is mottled with yellow.

    Aralia (origin unknown) [Araliaceaej A genus in which most species are suitable for use as tubbed specimens, sunk for effect in foliage beds.

    A. cachemirica (syn. A. macrophylla). 5 to 10 feet. A herbaceous perennial, native of Kashmir. A most decorative background subject.

    A. elata (syn. A. chinensis), Angelica tree. 30 feet. A most striking small tree especially in its variegated forms, albo-varlegata, irregularly creamy white bordered, and aureo-marginata similarly edged with rich yellow.

    A. spinosa. Hercules Club. 30 feet. A small deciduous tree from N. America. Similar to A. elata but more prickly.

    Araucaria (Araucanos, its name in Chile) [Pinaceae]

    A. excelsa. Norfolk Island Pine. A useful foliage plant for subtropical bedding. In its native haunts a beautiful symmetrical tree up to 200 feet high. It may be hardy in Cornwall and similar climates but generally must be grown in tubs and plunged in the ground during the summer.

    • A number of varieties are available:
    • A. e. compacta. Of compact dense form.
    • A. e. elegans. Branches light and graceful.
    • A. e. glauca. Glaucous.
    • A. e. virgata. Long slender branches.

    Artemisia (after Artemis, one of the names for Diana) [Compositae]

    A large genus of aromatic shrubs, perennials and annuals. A few are useful in bedding as contrast plants for their form and grey foliage. Heel cuttings taken in August or September of the shrubby species mentioned below can be readily rooted in a sandy frame.

    A. abrotanum. Southernwood, Old Man, Lad's Love. A favourite for its charming fragrance. Makes a 2-foot grey bushy plant.

    A. arborescens. 2 to 3 feet. A silvery white sub-shrub which may be plunged annually.

    A. sacrorum. 3 to 4 feet. A good grey sub-shrub which makes an attractive pyramidal plant when grown as an annual for plunging.

    A. lactiflora. 4 to 5 feet. Although primarily a plant for the herbaceous border or wild garden it makes an excellent plunged specimen considerably shorter than the natural height indicated.

    Arundinaria (arundo, cane) [Gramineae]

    A genus of very variable bamboos, many having been given new names. Their main use is as background to subtropical beds though the smaller species can be used as part of the display, in tubs if necessary. The main cultural requirement of bamboos is a sheltered position to avoid the leaves being disfigured by cold winds. Propagation is by division in early autumn or in May.

    A. auricoma (Bambusa fortunei aurea). Grows 3 to 4 feet high and the leaves are striped with rich golden yellow. It is a useful plant for subtropical beds where variegated foliage is needed.

    A. nitida. This well-known bamboo is one of the finest and hardiest. Growing up to 10 feet high, it makes a very graceful plant and has attractive purple stems.

    A. ragamowskii (Sasa tesselata). Stems 4 to 6 feet high with very large leaves, up to 18 inches long and 3 to 4 inches wide. It is very hardy and is one of the most striking of the dwarf bamboos.

    Arundo (old Latin name for A. donax, from the Greek for reed) [Gramineae]

    A genus of reed-grasses of doubtful hardiness. They may be propagated by seed, by division in spring, or by placing a clump in water-this causes the formation of rooted shoots which may be removed and potted up. These species are useful as background for foliage beds, or plunged in subtropical bedding.

    A. conspicua. 3 to 8 feet. The drooping foliage is always graceful. The plant produces long silvery plumes of flowers which are strikingly beautiful.

    A. donax. 12 feet. This giant reed is a noble plant and possibly the hardiest.

    In autumn it bears erect, rather drooping panicles of flowers, reddish at first, becoming silvery white.

    Asplenjum (a-not, splen-spleen, from a former reputation as a spleen medicine) Spleenwort [Polypodlaceae]

    A. nidus. Bird's-nest form. This remarkable fern needs a warm house during the greater part of the year to grow and develop its handsome fronds, some- what like the leaves of cannas, 2 to 4 feet long; it stands out of doors well if placed where it is not exposed to full sun. In this way it is often used in sub- tropical bedding. Plants grow best in a mixture of chopped sphagnurn and peat. A. nidus musaefolium. Has giant foliage up to 6 feet long and a foot wide.

    Aster (aster, a star, referring to the general shape of the flower heads) Michaelmas Daisies [Compositae]

    A most extensive family, some species of which have given rise in cultivation to a great number of varieties. The exigencies of bedding limit these severely. For this purpose they must be robust enough to dispense with stakes; they must be long-flowering; weatherproof; fading flowers must not detract unduly from those remaining and they must be capable of being moved from the open ground, at most, with the aid of a wire pot to flowering quarters. Two species especially fulfil these requirements.

    A. amellus. A 2-foot hardy perennial from Bessarabia. It bears numerous purple flowers and has given rise to a number of good varieties.

    • Blue King, violet, 21 feet. September.
    • King George, deep violet-blue, 21 feet, September to October.
    • Sonia, rose pink, 2 feet. August to October.
    • Ultramarine, rich violet blue, 15 inches. September.

    A. novi-belgil. An exceedingly variable species from Eastern America, ranging in height from 6 inches to 4 feet. It is the development of the dwarfer range up to 12 inches, which interests us here. Although dwarf forms have been known for over 100 years it was not until 1935 that very much interest was shown in their possibilities as bedding, edging and front of the border plants. A number of attractive varieties are available:

    • Audrey, pale blue, semi-double, very free, 12 inches. September to October.
    • Blue Baby, heliotrope blue, semi-double, very free, 9 inches. September to October.
    • Countess of Dudley, shell pink, semi-double, loose bushy habit, 12 inches. October.
    • Lilac Time, lilac, 12 inches. September to October.
    • Margaret Rose, rosy pink, 9 to 12 inches. October.

    Other useful species are: A..acris. 2 feet. Blue. Erect bushy. August.

    A.Xfrikartii (A. amellusx,4. thomsonfl). Sky blue. 2 feet. August to October.

    Plants may be raised by division, selecting the outside stolons and lining them out singly in nursery beds. If glass is available a successful method is to bring in stools in January to a temperate house, taking off cuttings as soon as they are 4 to 5 inches long, potting them on to 3-inch pots when rooted, and lining them out in nursery beds ready for removal to flowering quarters. It helps in large operations to pot on to 5-inch wire pots before planting out into nursery beds.

    Astilbe (a-without, stilbe-brilhancy, perhaps a reference to dull individual flowers) [Saxifragaceae]

    This is a plant like the lupin for those able to practice multi-change bedding. Though they respond to forcing better than most plants there is little point in producing early plants as the glory of the tulip and wallflower season needs no embellishment. They do, however, Rower naturally or with very little heat, in early June and follow the late tulips most admirably, giving a colourful show for 2 to 3 weeks.

    They are best boxed or tubbed for convenience of handling. They can stand in the open but light shelter from the heaviest weather is an advantage. Placed in a cool house in April they can be timed to flower in the correct week by observation. Plant out in partial shade and moist conditions when they are returned from bedding. Never allow the plants to become dry at any stage.

    Three species are mainly of use:

    • A. x arendsii. Hybrids of various species with A. davidil, raised by Herr Arends of Ronsdorf. Venus, lilac rose, and Rose Perle, a deep pink, are examples.
    • A. x rosea. (A. chinensis x A. japonica). Also the work of Herr Arends. Peach Blossom, pale pink, and the deep pink Queen Alexandra are well-known examples.
    • A. davidil. This tall (6 feet) species is some 2 feet shorter under bedding conditions and valuable for its deep magenta flowers and blue anthers.

    Atriplex (Greek name for Orach) [Chenopodiaceae]

    Orach is sometimes grown as a vegetable, the leaves being cooked and eaten as spinach. It has a crimson form used for its ornamental foliage. Purple Orach or Sea Purslane.

    A. hortensis atrosanguinea. 4 feet. July to September. Annual. Crimson foliage. The forms known as rubra, rosea and superba are slight variants.

    Aubrieta (C. Aubriet, 1688-1743, a French botanical artist) [Cruciferae]

    This is the original spelling of the generic name but it is unlikely that aubrietia will be displaced in common usage.

    A. deltoldea. Most commonly grown varieties have been derived from this species by selection of good seedlings. They are tolerant of widely varying conditions, are quite hardy, and make an excellent groundwork for spring bulbs. For this purpose they are best grown in pots or pans during the summer, plunging them into the desired position in early autumn. They will make little growth and should be touching when planted to give maximum effect.

    After lifting plunge the plants in a soil bed and cut back hard; top dress with a mixture of sand and peat into which they will root freely; these rooted shoots may be cut off and potted on for subsequent use. Cuttings are not easy to root; if they are used, soft early shoots in May can be inserted in a sandy mixture in a cold frame. Seed, which may be variable, can also be used.

    Among the many suitable varieties are:

    • Carnival, rich violet purple.
    • Prichards A.I., deep violet.
    • Dr Mules, deep purple.
    • rosea splendens, bright rose.
    • campbellii, rose purple.
    • J. S. Baker, bluish violet, white eye.