Online Encyclopedia

BEDDING PLANTS

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V13, Page 774 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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BEDDING PLANTS.—ThiS term is chiefly applied to those summer-flowering plants, such as ivy-leaved and zonal pelargoniums, petunias, dwarf lobelias, verbenas, &c., which are employed in masses for filling the beds of a geometrical parterre. Of late years, however, more attention has been bestowed on arrangements of brilliant flowering plants with those of fine foliage, and the massing also of hardy early-blooming plants in parterre fashion has been very greatly extended. Bedding plants thrive best in a light loam, liberally manured with thoroughly rotten dung from an old hotbed or thoroughly decomposed cow droppings and leaf-mould. Spring Bedding.—For this description of bedding, hardy plants only must be used; but even then the choice is tolerably extensive. For example, there are the Alyssums, of which A. saxatile and A. gemonense are in cultivation; Antennaria tomentosa; the double white .4rabis albida; Aubrietias, of which the best sorts are A. Campbelliae and A. grandiflora; the double Bellis perennis or Daisy; the Wallflowers, including Cheiranthus Cheiri (the Common Wall-flower), C. alpina and C. Marshallii; Hepaticas, the principal of which are the varieties of H. triloba, and the blue H. angulosa; Iberis or Candytuft; Lithospermum fruticosum; Myosotis or Forget-me-not, including M. alpestris, M. dissitiflora, M. azorica and M. sylvestris; Phloxes, like P. subulata, with its varieties setacea, Nelsoni, nivalis; the single-flowered varieties of the Primrose, Primula vulgaris; the Polyanthuses; Pyrethrum Parthenium aureum, called Golden Feather; Sempervivum calcareum; the pink-flowered Silene pendula; self-coloured varieties of the Pansy, V. tricolor, and of V. lutea and V. cornuta, as well as some recent hybrids. Besides these there are the various spring-flowering bulbs, such as the varieties of Hyacinthus, Tulipa, Narcissus, Fritillaria, Muscari or Grape Hyacinth, Crocus, Scilla, Chionodoxa and Galanthus or Snowdrop. Summer Bedding.—T here is great variety amongst the plants which are used for bedding-out in the garden during the summer months, but we can note only some of the most important of them. Amongst them are the Ageratums, the old tall-growing sorts of which have been superseded by dwarfer blue and white flowered varieties; Alternantheras, the principal of which are A. amoena; amoena spectabilis, magnifica, paronychioides major awrea and amabilis; Alyssum maritimum variegatum; some of the dwarf varieties of Antirrhinum majus; Arundo Donax variegata; Begonias; Calceolarias; Cannas; Centaurea ragusina; Clematises, of which the hybrids of the Jackmanni type are best; Dahlia variabilis, and the single-flowered forms of D. coccinea; Echeverias, of which E. secunda and E. metallica are much employed; Gazanias; Heliotropes; Iresines; Lantanas; Lobelias; Mesembryanthemum cordifolium variegatum; Pelargoniums, of which the various classes of zonal or bedding varieties are unapproachable for effect and general utility; Petunias; Phloxes; Polemonium coeruleum variegatum; Pyrethrum Parthenium aureum, the well-known Golden Feather, especially useful as an edging to define the outline of beds upon grass; Tropaeolums, especially some of the varieties of T. Lobbianum; and Verbenas, the offspring of Tweedieana, chamaedrifolia and others. Few bulbs come into the summer flower gardens, but amongst those which should always be well represented are the Gladiolus, the Lilium, the Tigridia and the Montbretia. Subtropical Bedding.—Foliage and the less common flowering plants may be used either in masses of one kind, or in groups arranged for contrast, or as the centres of groups of less imposing or of dwarfer-flowering subjects; or they may be planted as single specimens in appropriate open spaces, in recesses, or as distant striking objects terminating a vista. Carpet Bedding consists in covering the surface of a bed, or a series of beds forming a design, with close, low-growing plants, in which certain figures are brought out by means of plants of a different habit or having different coloured leaves. Sometimes, in addition to the carpet or ground colour, individual plants of larger size and handsome appearance are dotted symmetrically over the beds, an arrangement which is very telling. Some of the best plants for carpeting the surface of the beds are: Antennaria tomentosa and Leucophytum Browni, white; Sedum acre, dasyphyllum, corsicum and glaucuin, grey; and Sedum Lydium, Mentha Pulegium gibraltarica, Sagina subulata and Herniaria glabra, green. The Alternantheras, Amaranthuses, Iresines and Coleus Verschaffelti furnish high and warm colours; while Pyrethrum Parthenium aureum yields greenish-yellow; Thymus citriodorus aureus, yellowish; Mesembryanthemum cordifolium variegatum, creamy yellow; Centaureas and others, white; Lobelia Erinus, blue; and the succulent Echeverias and Sempervivums, glaucous rosettes, which last add much to the general effect. In connexion with the various designs such fine plants as Agave americana, Dracaena indivisa are often used as centre-pieces.
End of Article: BEDDING PLANTS
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