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Hardy Perennials

Die Zahl der Freunde von Stauden oder perennierenden Gewaechsen hat in den letzten Jahren ganz bedeutend zugenommen; man darf nur bei einem Ausflug die Gaerten und Gaertchen der Blumenfreunde, in der Stadt, wie auf dem Lande aufmerksam betrachten, da wird man beobachten koennen, dass Stauden schon viel Verwendung gefunden haben und hoffentlich noch mehr finden warden.

— J. Biemueller

The hardy herbaceous perennials, as a class, are the easiest to manage, the cheapest and the most naturalistic in the effect they give, of all the plants that grow. When once planted they need very little further care. Many of them need none at all, and will thrive and multiply for years in the grass or among the shrubs without the slightest attention. Growing thus at full freedom they give a wild, woodsy air to a place which nothing else can furnish quite so well. Their ability to take care of themselves year after year makes them very cheap. There has been a very healthy and gratifying tendency in recent years toward the more general use of such material, but there is no likelihood that it will soon be overdone.

Hardy perennials may be used in almost any situation where plants are wanted at all. They may grow under the trees, among the shrubs, in rockeries, along the borders of ponds and rivulets, on sloping banks, in borders by themselves, in shade or sun; in fact, it is very hard to go amiss with them unless, indeed, they are put into flower beds. It is a very convenient way to outline a border with herbaceous perennials, among which and in front of which the annuals are planted from year to year. One of the best ways is to mix them with the shrubbery, usually, of course, bringing them somewhat in front of the larger woody shrubs, as shown in Fig. 31. Many of them are excellent simply scattered thickly in the grass. Here they become naturalized and lead their own careless-thrifty lives. Buttercups and daisies live in that way. Columbines and goldenrods give great satisfaction when similarly grown. So do anemones, trilliums, asters, claytonias, erigerons, pentstemons, and many others. Of course, the most of these cannot be grown in a lawn which is kept mowed; but there should be some unmowed lawn on any place which has the room.

figure 31
Figure 31. Suggestion For Border Planting
For planting with perennials: a, Papaver nudicaule, Iceland poppy.b, Pentstemon acuminatus. c, Phlox hybrids. d, Aster Novae-Angliae. e, Aquilegia chrysantha, columbine. f, Hollyhocks. g, Coreopsis grandiflora. h, Chrysanthemum maximum. i, Peonies, or Oenothera Fraseri.
For planting with annuals: a, Nasturtiums, dwarf. b, Shirley poppies.c, Gaillardia Lorenziana. d, Branching asters. e, Antirrhinum, snapdragon. f, Sunflower, "Stella." g, Coreopsis Drummondii, "Golden Wave." h, Petunias. i, Phlox Drummondii.
For mixed planting: a, Nasturtiums. b, Shirley poppies. c, Gladioli.d, Branching asters. e, Aquilegia chrysantha, columbine. f, Helianthus orgyalis, Willow-leaved sunflower. g, Calendula, or Large Marigolds. h, Digitalis gloxinaeflora, foxglove. i, Lilium speciosum rubrum.

Many of the hardy perennials can be grown easily from seed. Usually it is best to sow the seed in a specially prepared bed or cold frame, from which the seedlings are transplanted to pots, nursery rows, or directly to their permanent places. Many of them are propagated more easily by division. Or the ready-grown plants may be bought directly from the nurseryman; and as each investment in such plants is a permanent one, the expense is comparatively small.

It would be entirely impossible, within the limits of this work, to enumerate and describe the most of the good herbaceous perennials. The following list is offered merely as a suggestion to those who are very much unacquainted with such plants. The author has endeavored to select those easiest to grow and of widest usefulness; but as such a selection is a very personal matter anyone else who is acquainted with herbaceous perennials will be likely to choose a somewhat different list.

ACONITUM, Monkshood.—A charming group of plants, though some are poisonous. The best are A. napellus, A. autumnale and A. uncinatum.

ANEMONE, Wind Flower.—In many species and varieties, all good. Mostly flowering early; usually white, sometimes blue. Among the best are A. sylvestris, A. nemorosa, A. Pennsylvanica, A. patens Nuttalliana, A. Japonica, and many horticultural varieties, both double and single.

AQUILEGIA, Columbine.—One of the most valuable groups of hardy plants. Easy to grow from seed. The best species are A. Canadensis, A. cærulea, A. vulgaris and A. chrysantha, though there are many other fine ones.

ASCLEPIAS contains several good plants, of which A. tuberosa is best. It grows in tufts, twelve to eighteen inches high, with large heads of orange blossoms in midsummer.

ASTER.—Several of the asters are hardy perennials, and many are very ornamental. The following deserve special mention: A. lævis, A. Novæ-Angliæ, A. Novi-Belgii, A. cordifolius, A. alpinus, A. ericoides.

BOCCONIA CORDATA (B. Japonica).—A large, strong growing plant, with large leaves. Fine for emphasis at medium distances. Five to eight feet.

CALLIRHOE INVOLUCRATA.—A good, small, trailing plant with an abundance of purplish flowers.

CAMPANULA, Bluebell, Harebell.—Easy to grow and always attractive. The genus numbers several fine species, such as C. Carpathica, C. medium, C. nobilis, C. punctata, C. rotundifolia, C. grandis, etc.

CHRYSANTHEMUM.—This genus contains several hardy species, some of them known as daisies or marguerites. Probably C. maximum is the best, though others are very good.

COREOPSIS.—Fine, free-flowering plants with large, golden blossoms. C. grandiflora and C. lanceolata are the best of the perennial species. Fine for cut flowers.

DELPHINIUM, Larkspur.—The perennial larkspurs are very showy and valuable plants. They may be had in numerous species and varieties. Those commonly grown are hybrids.

DIGITALIS, Foxglove.—Well-known plants of easiest culture, free flowering and always desirable. The commonest species, with very large flowers in a variety of colors, goes under the doubtful name of D. gloxiniæflora; but D. lanata, D. Siberica and D. grandiflora are equally fine.

HELENIUM.—A very fine and striking plant, particularly the variety, H. autumnale superbum. Furnishes a dazzling glow of yellow late in summer when flowers are scarce. Six to eight feet.

HELIANTHUS, Sunflower.—Some of the perennial species are very useful in border composition. The best are H. Maximillani and H. orgyalis. These give very striking, though easy and natural, effects.

HOLLYHOCK.—The old favorite, and one of the most artistically effective plants known. In many colors, single and double. Subject to severe attacks of rust, which sometimes kill the plants. In such cases burn the old plants and all the litter around them and plant anew in a different spot.

LEPACHYS.—A very desirable genus comprising only a few species, of which L. pinnata and L. columnaris are worth first trial.

OENOTHERA.—Comprises several good species, mostly with large yellow flowers. The best are OE. Missouriensis, OE. fruticosa major and OE. Fraseri.

PAPAVER, Poppy.—One of the most delicate and beautiful of hardy plants is the Iceland poppy, Papaver nudicaule. The Royal scarlet poppy, P. orientale, is a large and very showy species.

PENTSTEMON.—This genus numbers several of the very best herbaceous plants known to horticulture. They are hardy and easy to manage. Among the best are P. digitalis, P. grandiflorus, P. pubescens, P. confertus, P. barbatus Torreyi, P. acuminatus and P. ovatus. There are several others, and not a poor one among them.

PEONY.—Too well known to need remark. Usually grown alone on the lawn, but much finer when massed in the border against the shrubbery. Propagate by division.

PHLOX.—The well-known and showy perennial phlox of the gardens is P. paniculata, often called P. decussata, which has numberless fine varieties. Several of the native species are also very useful for border planting, especially P. maculata and P. divaricata.

RUDBECKIA, Coneflower.—Large, strong-growing, hardy plants. The best is the new variety, Golden Glow, which belongs to the species R. laciniata. R. maxima, R. hirta and R. Newmanii are excellent.

SOLIDAGO, Goldenrod.—A characteristically American genus of incomparable beauty. The only reason people do not plant them extensively is that they grow wild so abundantly. But no garden should be without its masses of goldenrod. The best species for planting are S. Canadensis, S. sempervirens, S. juncea, S. nemoralis and S. speciosa.

SPIRÆA.—Several of the spiræas are herbaceous. They are all useful. The best known are S. aruncus, S. astilboides, S. palmata and S. venusta.

TRILLIUM.—One of the most beautiful blossoms of early spring. T. grandiflorum, bearing large, pure white flowers, is best. Prefers a somewhat shady place.


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