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The Book of Town & Window Gardening

The Book of Town & Window Gardening
Category: Gardening
Title: The Book of Town & Window Gardening
Release Date: 2018-06-02
Type book: Text
Copyright Status: Public domain in the USA.
Date added: 27 March 2019
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HANDBOOKS OF PRACTICAL GARDENING—XIX
EDITED BY HARRY ROBERTS

THE BOOK OF TOWN AND WINDOW
GARDENING

A WINDOW BOX IN JUNE

A WINDOW BOX IN JUNE


THE BOOK OF
TOWN & WINDOW
GARDENING

BY
Mrs F. A. BARDSWELL

JOHN LANE: THE BODLEY HEAD
LONDON AND NEW YORK.  MCMIII


WILLIAM CLOWES AND SONS, LIMITED, LONDON AND BECCLES.


[Pg v]

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I
TOWN-GARDENING
 PAGE
London in summer-time—Bought flowers versus growingplants—Plants that do well in towns—Gardens of thesuburbs—Some of their joys1
 
CHAPTER II
THE EARLY WINDOW-BOX
Spring gardening in the window-box—Bulbs: gold, white,and blue—Moss carpets, dainty beds—Flowers that growwell together—Some combinations—Encouragements8
 
CHAPTER III
“THE SEASON” WINDOW-BOX
Not to start summer flowers too soon—Not to buy plantsthat have been forced—Not to be like everybody else—AsparagusSprengeri—A kitchen window-box—Herbs—Thewatched pot—Prize window-boxes at Exeter—Thenursery window-box—Seed Song14
 
CHAPTER IV
BALCONY-GARDENING
Pot-plants—Climbers—Tubs—London in June—The pleasantbalcony—Practical hints20
 
CHAPTER V[Pg vi]
ROOF AND BACK-YARD GARDENS IN THE CITY
St Andrew’s Rectory garden, Doctor’s Commons—“Strugglesin Smoke”—Roof-jungle at the Home for Working Boys,at Bishopsgate Street, E.C.—Amateur gardening amongthe slates and chimney-pots—City gardens—Temptingthe sea-gull, land-bird, and butterfly26
 
CHAPTER VI
PLANTS FOR THE CITY POOR
Window-box Society, St. Cuthbert’s Lodge, Millwall—Mr.Cadbury and his operatives—Town board schools—Gardeningat Crook’s Place Board School, Norwich—Countryboard schools in England and in Germany—Helping thepoor—Miss Jekyll and the factory lad31
 
CHAPTER VII
THE BEGINNER
Choosing the window-box—Making it—Placing it—Fillingit—The hanging basket—Cleansing—Watering—TheFern window-box—Virginia Stock36
 
CHAPTER VIII
FOLIAGE PLANTS FOR TOWNS
The window-box and the man in the street—The advantagesand merits of the foliage-plants—Which to order44
 
CHAPTER IX
FOG, FLOWERS, AND FOLIAGE
Air—Fog—What urban fog is made of—Darkness—Poison—Ananalysis from Kew—Can we counteract effects of fog?—Mr.Toope at Stepney—Fog-filters—What plants sufferleast?—Professor Oliver’s report on ferns in fogs—Bulbousplants—Precautions—Coal-smoke Abatement Society—Resolutions48
 
CHAPTER X[Pg vii]
THE LADY DECORATOR AND THE FLOWER-GIRL
Arranging flowers—Balls, dinner-parties, weddings—Fashionsin flowers—Dyed flowers—Flowers as symbols—PrimroseDay—Floral trophies—The early and mid-Victorianbouquet—Street-selling flower-girls—Buttonhole-making—Askeleton parasol in France55
 
CHAPTER XI
THE SMALL SUBURBAN GARDEN
A good word for it—The motor-car—Corner houses—Makingthe most of a small garden—Turf—Trees—Back andfront gardens—Individuality—Good taste62
 
CHAPTER XII
“NEXT DOOR”—A PARENTHETICAL CHAPTER
Garden etiquette in Suburbia—Codes and customs—Barriers—Brides—Music—Children—Bonfires—Thefamily wash71
 
CHAPTER XIII
GRASS, GROUND, OR GRAVEL
The new suburban garden—The restful garden—Country Lifeon English and Continental suburban gardens—The lawnand flower-beds—Grass walks75
 
CHAPTER XIV
FERNS AND WILD FLOWERS
The hardy fernery—How we made our own—Wild flowers forthe fernery—The fernery all the year round—AmusingMay—The Pale Osmunda—The neglected fernery ofLondon and the suburbs—Roadside Ferns and hedge-haunters80
 
CHAPTER XV[Pg viii]
CREEPERS AND CLIMBERS
The Vine and Fig-tree—Ampelopsis Veitchii—Trellis-work—Wirenetting—Supports—Roses, Jasmine and Magnolia—ThePassion-flower—Hops and Honeysuckle—MorningGlories—“Ivy Lane”88
 
CHAPTER XVI
EASY ROCK AND WALL GARDENING
How to get “rock” and place it—Alpine and English rock-plants—Mr.Barr’s nursery ground—Encrusted Saxifrages—Thedouble wall—Thrift, Wallflower, and Red Valerian—Onepleasing Thought95
 
INDEX103

[Pg ix]

LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS

A Window-box in JuneFrontispiece
Photo by Mrs. Bardswell
 TO FACE PAGE
Double and Single Pyrethrums2
By courtesy of Messrs. Barr
Michaelmas Daisies6
By courtesy of Messrs. Barr
Overlooking the Town16
Photo by T. W. Scott
A Hanging Basket20
Photo by Mrs. Bardswell
A Boat-shelter with Cerastium on Roof26
Photo by D. T. Fish
An East-End Roof Garden28
A Roof Garden30
Photo by D. T. Fish
Poor Man’s Window-box at Millwall32
By courtesy of Mrs. Richard Frere
Poor Man’s House-front, with Inside Parlour Group, at Millwall34
By courtesy of Mrs. Richard Frere
Spring in the Crook’s Place Board School Garden, Norwich36
By courtesy of Mr. Edward Peake
Pansy Bed in Crook’s Place Board School Garden, Norwich38[Pg x]
By courtesy of Mr. Edward Peake
Part of Rock-garden, Crook’s Place Board School, Norwich42
By courtesy of Mr. Edward Peake
A Water Garden50
By courtesy of Messrs. Barr
Lilies in Lord Ilchester’s Japanese Garden, at Holland House, Kensington54
By courtesy of “Country Life”
Bulrushes and Bog Beans in Small Tank in Garden58
Photo by T. W. Scott
In a Small Suburban Garden62
Photo by John Scott
Late Summer68
Photo by T. W. Scott
Early Autumn74
Photo by T. W. Scott
A Town Fernery80
Photo by Mrs. Bardswell
The Osmunda in May84
Photo by Mrs. Bardswell
Virginian Creeper over Porch88
Photo by Mrs. Bardswell
A Rockery96
Photo by John Scott
A Rockery in Early Summer100
Photo by John Scott

[Pg xi]


[Pg xii]

Acknowledgment is due to the Editorsof “The Garden,” “The Lady,” and the“Pall Mall Gazette” for their courtesyin permitting the reproduction in thisbook of certain chapters which appearedas articles in their respective journals.


[Pg 1]

CHAPTER I
TOWN-GARDENING

“I’ll take the showers as they fall,
I will not vex my bosom;
Enough if at the end of all
A little garden blossom.”

Courage is wanted to write a book about Town-gardening.Is there such a thing? Some would say “No;cats, fogs, and smuts forbid.” Yet how inseparable fromLondon is the thought of flowers! Can we picture theWest End on a summer’s day without them? The dust-laid,freshly sprinkled squares and streets, where behindhalf-drawn blinds there is the fragrance of many blossoms;the bright harness of horses jangling as they champ thebit, a knot of flowers at every bridle; flower-sellers withbaskets at all convenient corners, and along the roadwaycarts of Palms and growing plants bending and waving inthe wind; every man one meets has got his button-hole,and every maiden wears her posy; even the butcher-boyholds a bud between his thumb and finger, twirling it andsmelling at it as he goes.

The love of flowers and an almost passionate delightin cultivating them has ever been a feature of Englishlife, and of late years the old taste has been renewed andstrengthened: no mere whim of fashion’s fancy is it, butthe outcome of a nation’s feeling, deep and true; and whatthe English people love and long for, that they will have,despite all difficulties. Thus it comes about that London’s[Pg 2]heart is gay with flowers. They strew our parks and openspaces, they fill the cheerful window-box and seed-sownarea, and make the cold grey balcony to blossom as therose; even where London’s traffic roars the loudest, onelights upon the pathetic back-yard garden, hemmed in bychurch and factory walls, the high-hung garden of theroof and parapet, the little beau-pot of the window-sill,the poetic window-plant, that shares its owner’s onlyliving-room,—everywhere flowers, flowers, for rich andpoor, especially for the rich.

“There’s never a delicate nursling of the year,
But our huge London hails it, and delights
To wear it on her heart or at her ear,
Her days to colour and make sweet her nights.”

Buying flowers is easy enough, it is the growing ofthem in big towns that is so difficult; but the struggle isnot a hopeless one, there is much that may encourage.When we hear of what others have done, still more, whenwe have seen their successes for ourselves, despair givesway to animation and activity.

No one will deny for a moment that there is morereal joy to be felt over one plant that we have grown forourselves than over ninety and nine bought ones; and thisis not only because attending to its needs has made uslove the flower as we love children and other pets anddear dependents—there is another reason. In shop-flowersthe method of growth (one of a plant’s greatestbeauties) is a charm left out. Sweet Peas, for instance;we buy them squeezed up in tight bunches, all pink onesmassed together, or all white or purple. Where is thegrace of the clinging tendril, the tender poising of thedainty blooms?

DOUBLE AND SINGLE PYRETHRUMS

DOUBLE AND SINGLE PYRETHRUMS

I have seen these beauties where Sweet Peas wereblowing and growing in the depths of a London areaalong with white Pinks, Candy-tuft, and the gold-flowered[Pg 3]Canary Creeper, but never have I beheld them in theshop: bunches of Cornflowers and even Roses, will belaid against a trail of Smilax, or something else that doesnot belong to either of them, such as the ever-present“French Fern” or New Zealand grass. Flower-artistsof Japan, who willingly spend hours in coaxing eachseparate twig and flower to show its natural grace andhabit, would not much care to arrange the cut flowers webuy in towns, that have been divorced completely fromthe stems and branches where they grow; and to saythis is not to grumble at the florists, who cannot do impossibilities,but to accentuate the fact that cut flowerscannot take the place of growing ones.

Happily for the town gardener, many plants andflowers do well among the chimney-pots. Annuals lessso than some, perhaps, but many of these flower satisfactorilyif thinly sowed. Nasturtiums, Virginia Stock,Coreopsis, Marigold, Scabious, Sunflower, Lupin, Love-in-a-mist,Candy-tuft and Larkspur never fail us, norSweet Pea, if we can keep the sparrows from eating theseeds. Some town-folk tell me they think Carnationsreally like smoke, so well they thrive in it. Pyrethrums,both single and double, are among our best town flowers,and will grow almost anywhere and in any ordinarygarden soil. The one drawback to their well-being isslugs, who find the young growths too enticing; but wecan circumvent this enemy if in autumn we sprinkleashes, soot, or lime around the crowns. In London it isnever difficult to get soot, though, oddly enough, everychimney-sweeper considers our own home-made soot hisperquisite, and makes us pay for it. The really best wayto get rid of slugs is to catch them in orange-peel traps,made of empty half-oranges, under which they crawl,and can then be killed. Sliced potatoe is another goodbait, or beet-root. The drawback of using traps is thedanger of attracting the enemy. On the other hand,[Pg 4]ashes, soot, and lime are unsightly, and may spoil ourplants if allowed to touch them. A pail of salt and waterwe find the least unpleasing medium when culprits mustbe executed.

In a town garden where there is room for them, noplants do better than the Star-worts or MichaelmasDaisies. They are so easy of cultivation and so comfortinglate in the season, when the “bedders” of every publicand private garden have succumbed to cold and wet. Laterthere are Chrysanthemums.

Lilies and all bulbous plants show unexpected hardiness.Our parks both east and west familiarize us with Snowdrop,Crocus, Jonquil, Narcissus, and Daffodil; and to seehow happy Valley-lilies can make themselves within earshotof the bustling Strand, we need only turn our footstepstowards the dim green gardens of the Temple, wherebanks and parterres of them unfold their verdant cloaksbeneath every April sky. Farther west, if eyes couldpierce the trees and shrubs that guard the gardens of theKing and Queen at Buckingham Palace, or those roundMarlborough House, they would see Lilacs, Laburnums,Pinks, and Roses; and from the knife-board of a Bayswateromnibus, if our field of vision were a little broader,we should catch glimpses of Lord Ilchester’s fair gardensabout Holland House, where languorous Lilies of Japanluxuriate in all their native splendour, and much of theirnative wildness; and this but a stone’s throw from theGreat Western Railway Station and the World’s Fair ofWilliam Whiteley.

Among the gardens of the suburbs most of our towndifficulties disappear; the many nursery, and market, andRose, and Rock, and Daffodil gardens that flourish inLondon’s outskirts abundantly prove this. Once awayfrom fog and smoke, there are few limitations exceptthose that come of want of space; but land is dear,and there is little ground to spare, except for public[Pg 5]and general gardens, where again

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