Gardening Articles

Veranda Boxes Window-boxes Vases And Hanging Baskets

Many of the plants ordinarily set outdoors in pots, or planted in the flower beds, could be much more effectively used in veranda boxes, window-boxes, vases or hanging baskets. The veranda boxes are generally about eight by six inches, made as described on page

9, and of the right length to fit some window-sill, or the corner or top of a veranda railing. Arrangements for watering should be made as convenient as possible, as this work is almost sure to be more or less neglected during the hot months when it needs frequent and thorough attention. The soil used should be porous and very rich, as many plants will have to get their nourishment from a very limited space. The majority of the plants described in the foregoing pages may be utilized successfully in box work; which ones in any particular case should depend on circumstances, such for instance as whether the boxes will be in partial shade, or strong sunlight; or whether in a sheltered or a windswept position. A favorite combination is dracaenas, Nutt or Beaute Poitevine, with the variegated vinca as a front border. The lover of plants desirous of artistic effects will not be content, however, to go by fixed rules where so many opportunities for expression of individual taste are offered. There are two warnings to be given in addition to the suggestions above. Do not attempt to crowd too many plants into the small space available; remember that as a safe rule the most pleasing results will be obtained by the use of a very few kinds and colors. A good way to be sure of not making mistakes is to fill the boxes to within three or four inches of the top, arrange the plants, still in their pots, until a satisfactory picture is designed, and then fill up with soil and plant. Vases usually have three serious drawbacks; they are very restricted in size, are exposed to the most drying action of winds and sun, and are not conveniently watered. The last two disadvantages can be to some extent overcome by placing them in situations at least partially sheltered and shaded, and by running a half-inch or three-quarter inch pipe (which may be bought second hand for two to four cents a foot, while good hose costs sixteen to eighteen), a few inches under the sod and up to the top of the vase. Such a pipe should be detached and drained in the fall and will last many years; the few feet running up to the vase will be sufficiently concealed by the vines and reasonably inconspicuous. Where such precautions are not taken, restrict the plants used to those doing well in the heat, and a dry soil; one of the best is the ice plant (Mesembryanthemum) with flowers of pink or white, very freely produced. There is no prettier way of displaying plants than in the hanging basket, either in the house or on the porch. That one so seldom sees them is undoubtedly due to the fact that few people seem to know how to fill and take care of them. In the first place, the basket should be as large as possible--a size or so larger than you think you ought to have, for what reason you will see in the following. Get a supply of sphagnum moss, and line the entire inner surface, sides as well as bottom, an inch in thickness; press down compactly, then fill nearly full of light, rich prepared soil, and put in the plants; something tall and graceful in the center, compact and dwarf-growing around this, and vines around the edges. Astonishingly beautiful results may be had with small baskets by using only one sort of plant in each, such as oxalis, ivy geranium or some trailing flowering vines. Cover the surface of the soil between the plants with clean live sphagnum moss. This will both add to the appearance and conserve the moisture. The best way by far to water hanging baskets is to have them so arranged that they may be taken down easily and allowed to soak until thoroughly wet in a tub or pail of water--which will take some time, as the moss will be like a dry sponge. Let them drain until dripping ceases and hang in place again. If the above method is adhered to, you are sure to meet with success that will prove most gratifying.

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