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THE GARDEN., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 73, 26 March 1909
'"r/" ;„ ' CBy hobttjs.) _;_; IHortoe 53 -willing to answer any <jner» lea. Correspondents must give their real names and addresses, though not for pul> Ucatlon.J HINTS. Scarlet Runner bean 3 will yield better towards the end of the season by picking sizable produce before it becomes too large and old, and now pinching off the extremities of the growing shoots. Such growths as are made after this date will be too late to form pods. Few realise how greatly late autumn crops are increased by giving efficient root waterings. Cabbage seeds should receive another sowing, and if the weather continues hot and dry it is necessary to use similar means to the above, or cover them with matting, or the like, until the young plan+3 appear. Next spring's crop depends upon rearing successful autumn seedlings, hence extra attention is demanded during the weather experienced up to the time we write. Hanging grapes, if they are to be conserved for a time, must have as dry an atmosphere as it is possible to maintain. All should be frequently scrutinised, and diseased berries cut out. Ripe grapes can be kept better and with less anxiety if the bunches are cut off with four to six inches of cane attached. Insert the end of the cane in a bottle of water and hang in a dry room, in such manner that the berries hang away from the bottle. Ranunculus and Anemones.—These are grand early spring flowering tubers, and within the last few years they have received much attention. During April the tubers should be planted out in the bede or borders. The best soil to suit them is a fairly good loam which has been well manured the .preceding season. Nothing but manures which have been rotted to the consistency of soil should be used. Never on any account place them in soil where fresh, fermenting, or rank manure has been placed. When planting, the soil should be laboured to a good depth and the little tubers placed about an inch under the surface. The foliage will make its appearance in a few weeks. All the cultivation which is necessary while they are growing is to keep them free from weeds, and, occasionally, after the surface soil has been beaten hard with heavy rains, to break it up during the first few fine days. Any time while the plants are growing they can be lifted and removed to other situations with perfect ease, lifting a little soil with the roots. The flowering period of the ranunculus is from about the middle of August till the middle of October, that of the anemones June to October, and during that period they present a gay and brilliant appearance with their beautifullycoloured flowers. About the end of October the plants begin to ripen off. and the foliage soon dies. The seed should be saved and sown in the nursery. When the tubers have ripened—during December—they should be lifted and stored for planting in the following autumn, and the. plant is at its best during the second season. Shrub propagation by layers is a ready means of growing a few young plants of goodly size in a tenth the time necessary to do so from cuttings and the process is very simple. Work in any garden seems progressive and healthy ■wherever a stock of young plants is in process of forming. Duplicates iuvariably come in handy. Layering, moreover, may be made a means of improving many existing plants that have become bare around their base. For instance, a goodly sized aucuba might show its base unduly. If some of the thin, long growths are drawn down to the ground" from ite centre, or some of the more recumbent branches are lowered, that all may have some of \their hard wood buried in the ground they will invariably root so that young plants are formed, which will grow vigorously. To assist them to roots, a notch is cut upwards on the wood buried so form a tongue, and to keep such layered brandies in place they arc pegged down securely. Much may be said in favour of planting bulbs in swards, wherever lawns aro attached to town and eutiurban gardens. Of late years fine displays have resulted from this plan "in the paries." Even small fore or back count gardens can be greatly enlivened in the early spring months. Trumpet Narcissi, Sweet Jonquils, ordinary Daffodils, Crocus, and Iris Siberica all lend themselves admirably to this mode of culture. We have proven also that Polyanthus Xarcissi—the Ibuneh-fkrwered—succeed exceptionally well under "the same treatment, remaining in the ground and blooming annually without intermission. As a rule the smallest number of bulbs that can be grouped in places of limited extent is a dozen, though hadf a-dozen, or a trio of the last-named, prove effective. In the matter of planting, make deep holes in the sward, place an inch or so of rich, sandy soil in the bottom, force the base of each bulb down upon it, then fill in with similar compost quite firmly. The grass will soon grow and hide the buried treasures, but .they will push forth vigorously early in the spring. Strawfoerry growing in tuba proves interesting to town growers who do not ipossess sunny borders wherein to cultivate them; they are, moreover, made independent of the cat nuisance. Given a tirb, or, ibetter still, a barrel, the larger (the better in reason, with the head removed, holes sufficient for drainage in the bottom, and auger holes sufficiently large, at eight, inches apart, bored round the sides large enough to insert the plants, and it is ready for filling with rich, loamy soil, made firm, into which the plants' roots are to be firmly inserted, both at the top and around the sides. Placed on any sunny sides these plants ■will grow so as to produce luxuriant foliage and in season clusters of their pendent crimson fruit. Plant young plants during mild winter, towards the end of the month. Why Trees Shed Their Leaves.—ln his series of lectures at University College, Sheffield, on "Studies in Plant and Animal Life," Professor Denny explained why the trees shed their leaves in autumn. One of the most characteristic features of autumn, he said, is the death and fall of the leaves of the majority of plants. The vegetation in temperate regions is characterised as a whole by the regular alternation of leaf-bearing and leafless periods. The plants, as it were, put on wear, and then discard their covering of leaves. This phenomenon is also seen in the tropics. In botli cases the cause is the interruption of the plant's activity owing to external conditions. In one case the alternation of summer and winter is the cause, while in the other it is owing to the alternation of rainy and dry periods. Thus the leaf fall is either connected with the approach of cold, or with that of hot weather, but the actual cause is the same in both cases, viz., suspension of the water supply. A low temperature • arrests the absorbent activity . of the roots, -while the drought in tTopical re-1 giona is, equivalent .to. v sEwfcea.'&Miae.j
Under "both.-these conditions alike the presence of leaves becomes a danger, for water contained in. the tissues is readily lost by evaporation from the surface of the leaves, and if the loss is not made good by the roots, the result will ibe serious, if not fatal. The shedding of leaves is, therefore, a necessity. To the popular mind, leaves fall off because they are dead. But in reality their fall is a vital act, for which, the plant •special preparation many weeks beforehand, and it is a well-known fact that the leaves on a dead tree or broken branch do not fall off. The lecturer described in detail how the pkjit amputates its leaves and simultaneously heals the wounds 60 made on the surface of its ■body.
THE GARDEN., Auckland Star, Volume XL, Issue 73, 26 March 1909
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