Category Archives: Home & Garden

Rose Center Piece Flower Arrangement

A basket of roses and Peruvian lilies makes a beautiful gift — perhaps for a special birthday, anniversary or Mother’s Day. It would also add a lovely touch of colour and interest to a window sill, a fireplace or an otherwise dull corner that you feel needs cheering up. The basket, painted to tone with the flowers, would be ideal to use afterwards as a container for yarns, sewing materials or bath preparations.


1. Gather together your materials: a shallow basket with a handle, a waterproof liner such as a plastic box, a block of absorbent stem-holding foam (soaked beforehand),narrow florist’s adhesive tape, scissors, long-lasting foliage such as eucalyptus and flowering shrub, flowers such as roses and Peruvian lilies, florist’s scissors, secateurs(pruning shears), paper ribbon and a stub wire (floral pin). Prepare the basket to co-ordinate with the flowers that you are using, if you wish; the one shown here was painted in stripes of pink gloss paint, to add a touch of sparkle to the arrangement.

2. Put the liner in the basket and place the block of foam in it. Cut 2 strips of adhesive tape and crises-cross them over the foam and down on to the sides of the basket, to hold the foam firmly in place. Arrange the tallest stems of foliage to make a fan shape at the back of the basket. Cut progressively shorter stems for the centre and front, positioning them so that they droop and trail over the rim.

3. Arrange the roses to make a gently rounded shape in the basket, alternating the colours (pink and pale yellow were used here) so that each complements the other to create an attractive effect.

4. Add the Peruvian lilies, cutting some individual flowers on short stems and positioning them close against the foam. Fill in the gaps with short sprays of flowering shrub.

5. Unfurl the twisted paper ribbon by pulling it out gently from one end.

6. Cut the length of ribbon required and tie it into a bow. Gently ease the loop until it looks neat, and trim the ribbon ends by cutting them at a slant. Thread the stub wire through the hack of the loop, and twist and insert the 2 ends into the foam at the front of the basket. Spray the flowers with a fine mist of cool water, and keep the foam moist by adding a little water to it at least once a day.

Planting Blackberries

This name is used here to include all types of trailing berries, i.e., Logan-berry, Boysenberry, Youngberry as well as the commonly known Blackberry. Blackberries are grown commercially in N.Y. as well as in the Willamette Valley of Ore., parts of Calif. and elsewhere. They are not as hardy as raspberries. They grow best on fertile, well-drained soils and those soils that are in windy areas or areas of late spring frosts should be avoided. They are easily propagated by tip layering, that is, merely inserting the tip of a cane in the soil in the fall, and digging up the young rooted stem the following spring. They are also propagated from suckers or root cuttings.

Plants are set 5-10 ft. apart depending on the training system used. The plants themselves should be planted as early in the spring as possible and cut back to about 8—to in. high after planting.

Blackberry canes are biennial, that is they grow vegetatively one year, produce fruit the next and then die, and should be removed. Varieties differ in the length to which the canes grow. Some varieties, especially those grown in the eastern United States like ‘Darrow’, ‘Bailey’ and ‘Eldorado’, are mostly self-supporting but the loganberries and boysenberries, as well as some Blackberry varieties grown on the Pacific Coast have long trailing stems that must be trained on a trellis, otherwise they would fall to the ground.

If the planting is to be grown without a trellis, the plants should be spaced about 2-3 ft. apart in the row and the rows 8-9 ft. apart. Young shoots will come up between the plants, but strict cultivation should be such that it will keep these suckers to a strip of soil. If this is not done the plants can become a tangle, very difficult if not impossible to manage since they have rigid thorns making any pruning a disagreeable task that is almost impossible unless thick gloves are worn and long-handled lobbing shears are used. Mulching can be practiced, but the suckers coming up between the rows should be eliminated from time to time.

Pruning is best done in the early spring, eliminating those that have borne fruits as well as any weak or broken canes. Those canes remaining (if no trellis is used and these are self-erect varieties) should be about 8 in. apart, and the laterals should be reduced to about 8-12 buds each. The new canes start growing rapidly in June, and the tip of these should be pinched out when the canes are about 21-3 ft. tall. This will have to be done at weekly intervals since the canes do not all mature together, but it does promote sturdy, compact, plant development. When harvesting is over the old canes can be removed any time.

Those varieties with long, trailing stems are usually trained to a wire trellis of from one to several wires. Plants are spaced about 2 ft. apart and the canes tied to the wires. Some growers use a simple stake, one to each hill. The stake is about 5-6 ft. tall and the canes merely wrapped around the stake in spiral fashion and the ends clipped off at the top. The canes can be trained on single wires, wrapped around them, or on 2 wires or tied fan shaped to several wires. This takes more labor perhaps but often results in a higher yield.

Blackberries should only be picked when they are fully ripe and about to be used. They do not ripen all at once but over a period of several weeks in July and Aug. They respond to the application of nitrogenous fertilizers in early spring, but the amount should be controlled by shoot growth and fruit production.

Blackberry Varieties

In the eastern United States, the varieties generally are ‘Darrow’ (best); ‘Bailey’ (good); ‘Eldorado’ (good but difficult to find in nurseries true to name). There is a sterile type that has been distributed which blooms well but does not produce fruit. This should be dug up and discarded wherever it has been planted.

On the West Coast, ‘Evergreen’ and ‘Thornless Evergreen’ are very popular varieties, especially the latter, a sport of ‘Evergreen’, for the canes are easily handled. Fruit is firm and has a good flavor. Large quantities are canned; it accounts for the largest Blackberry acreage in Ore., ripening in Aug. and Sept. These of course are not hardy in the eastern United States.

Other varieties are ‘Cascade’ with red fruits, ‘Marion’ with shining black fruits, and ‘Pacific’.

‘Boysen’, or the Boysenberry as it is called, originated in Calif., is dark wine red and is not reliably hardy in the East. It is best grown on a trellis for the canes are 8-to ft. long. They ripen from early July to late Aug. It has an excellent flavor and is popular locally where grown.

The ‘Logan’ or Loganberry also originated in Calif. in 1881. It is vigorous with long canes which are best trained on a wire trellis, but it winter-kills in most parts of the country other than parts of Calif., Ore., and Wash. The fruits are dark red, of medium size and tend to be a little soft hence it is grown mainly for juice and wine, for the fruit does not ship well. It ripens from late June through July.

Blackberry Insects and Pests

Blackberry sawfly and raspberry sawfly may strip the leaves in early summer. They are easily killed with insecticide. Red necked cane borer kills many canes by boring in the pith. Careful pruning holds these in check. Blackberry psyllid and rose scale cause abnormal and weakened canes. Spraying with insecticide is effective. In the Northwest the blackberry mites cause the “redberry” disease. These gall mites overwinter in buds. Spraying with fungicide when canes are dormant is suggested. The tarnished plant bug can be a serious pest also, but can be effectively controlled by spraying the plants just before the first flowers open with insecticide. Cane borers sometimes produce irregular swellings or galls in canes, and infested canes are weakened and may die. They should be cutout and burned. Wild blackberries may have this insect and they should be dug out and destroyed if nearby.

Rat Control

Rats and mice can cause serious problem on the farm or homestead. The major source of rodent damage is the Norway or brown rat (Rattus norvegiaz). He is ably assisted by his cousins the black rat (Rattus rattus) and the house mouse (Abemusculus). Other relatives, the field mouse and the pine mouse, cause damage to orchards and in gardens.

Rats are among the most ingenious creatures known. They police their population so the number of rats does not exceed the foal supply by killing or driving out weak rats. A healthy rat can fall 50 feet without serious injury, and can swim half-a-mile in open water up sewer lines against swift currents.

Rat and mouse control are linked on the stead or farm. Although mice are more problematic in the house, rats can infest both house and barn and are a more significant problem in sheds and other outdoor buildings.

Rat Sanitation

Sanitation means eliminating sources of food for rats and mice, and destroying rodent nests. Begin sealing all stored food from rats and mice. It does not necessarily mean rat proofing an entire building, since many buildings are impossible to completely rat-proof.

Dried and bagged food of all kinds should be stored in tight cupboards or preferably in jars or tin boxes with tight-fitting lids. Ruble scraps not fed to animals must be scrupulously composted; rat-proof compost tins are desirable, but proper composting will net draw rats.

Food that needs to be cured or hung for long periods of time can be hung in attics, or storerooms in ways that protect it from rodent infestation. One way is to hang the foodstuffs from a wire strung from one wall to another. Simply punch a hole in the center of large metal disks and slip them over the wire about a foot from each wall. Rodents can’t get around the disks. If you have a beam flush against the ceiling of a building, cover both ends of the beam with tin to about two feet from the wall on either end. Rats won’t be able to maintain a footing on the metal surfaces of the beam ends. Drive nails into the beam for hangers.

Don’t let surplus garden crops stand for extended periods or overwinter in the garden. Shred, plow under, or otherwise dispose of anything rats would enjoy, particularly mature sweet corn. Baled straw often contains wheat that was not threshed out properly at harvest-time and rats or mice will burrow into the bales for the grain. Do not store baled straw in a barn, or, if you do, use the bales as soon as you can.

Keep all livestock and pet feed in metal containers. Steel 55-gallon drums are ideal for the purpose, since they can still be purchased cheaply or be had for free. Be careful not to use drums in which toxic chemicals have been shipped or stored and wash all drums out thoroughly. Pieces of roofing tin weighted down with a rock or piece of cement block will cover the barrels. Set the barrels on pallets or a platform to keep them off the ground so they don’t rust out. In four drums you can store all the feed six chickens and a pig need in a year.

Larger farms and homesteads need larger grain-storage facilities. There are many metal bins and cribs on the market. Old wooden cribs can be partially rat-proofed with hard-ware cloth or pieces of roofing tin, but rats will always find a new place to gnaw through.

If constructing new buildings, don’t put wooden or composition floors in them unless you really need them. Of course, rats can get into dirt-floored buildings easily enough but they don’t often stay because there is no place to hide. If you build a building with a floor, build it up off the ground so that a dog or cat can get underneath the building to chase a rat. Feed your barn cats underneath the floor of the building to encourage them to hunt there.

Keep all piles of wood and lumber up off the ground with planks and posts. Get rid of piles of rocks, old boards and junk.

Feed your chickens and other animals carefully so that they finish their grain and don’t spill it. Don’t leave mash or other food out overnight when rats are active. Rats will attack baby chicks, unless the hen fights them off, so any building in which you are raising chicks should be rat-proof.

Rat Poisons

Poison is a less than completely satisfactory means of eliminating rats and mice. Poisons like arsenic and strychnine are effective killing agents, but rats who watch other rats die a violent death by strychnine seem to put two and two together and avoid the bait. Besides, such poisons are extremely dangerous to children, pets and farm animals, even if placed in bait stations along rat runs.

Rats sometimes learn to avoid the safer, newer anticoagulant poisons that have been so effective over the past ten years. These poisons often require repeated feedings before they will kill and a rat that gets sick may avoid eating the poison again-it seems to associate the odor of the bait with its sickness. Rats have also shown some tendency to become immune to anticoagulants.

Bait must be placed properly to have greatest effect. Place baits in runways or places where rats seek shelter, but cover them well so that domestic animals or children will not find them. A board may be leaned against the wall over the bait, or the bait may be covered with a box with two-by-three-inch holes in both ends. Rats deprived of earlier hiding places by the cleanup of their shelters may be enticed the bait when it is enclosed in a new place.

Mice in the Orchard

Field mice are not difficult to control in the orchard. They rarely burrow below, and they feed on the trunk, not the roots of trees. If the orchard is mulched, be careful to pull the mulch a few feet away front the in the fall. Field mice build nests mulch but are hesitant to run around in then once cold weather sets in. Placing a wire cylinder around the trunk of each tree is also active against field mice.

Pine mice are often very difficult to control. Persistence is necessary. Dig some of them away from the base of the tree in the fall fill it in with cinders. Spread cinders in able to at least three feet from the trunk. The cinders will help prevent the rodents from tunneling in the soil. Regular snap-back use traps can be effective if carefully set in runs.

Planting Peas

Peas are high in food value and rich in vitamins A, the B group and C. It is of very ancient origin being grown and used by the ancient Greeks and Romans. The Garden Pea is very sensitive to heat and thrives only in cool weather. In the South it is grown during the fall and winter and in the North in the spring. In the North late plantings for maturity in the fall are seldom satisfactory. In hot weather growth is retarded, insects and diseases are a problem, pollination is poor resulting in pods with few, if any, seeds.

Pea Varieties

The many listed varieties of peas are classified as dwarf or tall, smooth or wrinkle seeded, and edible podded. Recommended dwarf sorts are ‘Alaska’ (smooth-seeded), ‘Little Marvel’, ‘Laxtonian’ and ‘Progress’. Tall varieties are ‘Treezonia’ and ‘Alderman’. ‘Wanda’, 24-30 in. plant, is the most resistant variety to heat. Edible podded peas of excellent quality are ‘Mammoth Melting Sugar’, 50-60 in. plant, and ‘Dwarf Gray Sugar’, 26-32 in. plant.

Pea Soils and Fertilizers

Peas can be grown in a variety of soil types. For very early planting a sandy or silt loam is preferred, but for a later planting a well-drained clay loam is ideal because of its cooler temperature. The soil reaction for acidity should test from 6.0 to 6.5 pH.

If manure is used it must be well rotted or else worked into the soil in the previous fall. The Pea is a legume and, consequently, absorbs nitrogen from the air. This is of relatively little importance with the quick-maturing dwarf varieties. If manure has been used, broadcast15-20 lbs. per 100 sq. ft. of a 5-to-5 commercial fertilizer and thoroughly mix into the soil. If no manure was used, increase the fertilizer application by 10 lbs. In some cases, it may be advisable to side dress in bands 2 in. from row with nitrate of soda, 2-3 lbs. per 100 ft. of row, at the time of pod set. For peas the soil should be thoroughly prepared and fertilized to provide a fine friable seedbed.

Planting Peas

Peas should be planted as early as the soil can be properly prepared and, therefore, are usually one of the first crops planted in the home garden. While the smooth-seeded sorts such as ‘Alaska’ will stand lower temperatures than the wrinkled sorts, both must be planted early to obtain a good succession for harvest, e.g. ‘Alaska’ matures in 55-60 days, ‘Little Marvel’ and ‘Laxtonian’ in 60-63, ‘Freezonia’ 63-65, ‘Wanda’ 70-72 and ‘Alderman’ 74-76. This procedure is preferred to several succession plantings of 1 variety.

Dwarf sorts are planted 24-30 in. apart between rows and 2-in. spacing will provide a good stand of plants in the row. Seed should not be planted deeper than 1 or 2 in. For tall varieties it is a common practice to space the rows 30-36 in. apart and the seeds are planted in double rows. Make 2 parallel drills 6 in. apart and 4 in. deep. Sow the seed and cover the seed with 2 in. of soil. Gradually fill the drill as the plants come up. The object of this double row is to provide space between the drills for the brush or wire trellis needed to support these tall varieties. It also makes more efficient use of space in the garden. The same planting procedure should be used for single row culture.

Supports should be placed at planting time and may consist of (1) brush, 4-5 ft. high after the stems have been pushed into the soil for a distance of 12-18 in. The brush should be well-branched and close enough together to provide a ready hold for the pea-vine tendrils. (2) Chicken wire, 4-5 ft. high, stretched as tight as possible between posts placed at 8-10 ft. intervals. The advantage of chicken wire is that after cleaning it can be rolled up and stored for the next year. Brush is not so easy to obtain and dispose of at the end of the season.

Pea Cultivation

Peas require sufficient shallow cultivation to control weeds. Where brush or wire trellis is used hand weeding is necessary in the row. Commercial growers use the selective herbicide, Premerge, as a pre- and post-emergence chemical to control weeds. This is not recommended for use by the home gardeners.

Pea Harvesting

The pods are hand-picked when the seeds are beginning to fill out the pods. Quality in peas is associated with tenderness and high sugar content. During maturity of the seed the sugar content decreases rapidly with an increase in starch. Fully matured pods will contain peas that are tough and flat in flavor. Peas that are harvested at peak quality and then exposed for 4-5 hours to high temperatures, 75° F. plus, will also lose their sweetness and tender texture.

Pea Insects

Pea aphid, a rather large green plant louse, sucks the juice first from the growing tip but eventually from the entire plant. It can be controlled by dusting with malathion, Diazinonor dimethoate. Do not feed treated foliage to cattle. Pea weevil is brownish with white, black and gray markings. Adults feed on blossoms and larvae burrow into green seed which are most troublesome in western states. Control by parathion spray using 8% emulsion concentrate or 2% emulsion concentrate 1 pt. per 100 gal. Use parathion with caution. Do not apply later than 10 days before harvest.

Pea Diseases

Powdery mildew, a fungus, most serious during hot, humid weather, forms a dense white or grayish coating on the leaves. Dusting with sulfur-lime gives fair control. Root rots caused by several different fungi which live over in the soil are frequently serious in reducing the stand of plants. The basic control lies in crop rotation, planting in well-drained and aerated soils and possibly treating the seed prior to planting with Spergon or Arasan. Wilt is another fungus disease common to peas and is soil borne. Infected plants show a downward curling of the leaves, a wilted appearance resulting in stunted growth. Control is same as for root rot.

Planning Your Garden

Simply moving a few plants is rarely enough to transform an uninspiring garden into something special. It is worth having a goal, a plan to work to, even if you have to compromise along the way. Bear in mind that you may be able to stagger the work and cost over several seasons, but having a well thought out design ensures the garden evolves in a structured way.

Use the checklist to clarify your needs, then decide in your own mind the style of garden you want. Make a note of mundane and practical considerations, like where to dry the clothes and put the refuse, plus objects that need to be screened, such as a compost area, or an unpleasant view.

Labour-saving tips

To minimize cost and labour, retain as many paths and areas of paving as possible, but only if they don’t compromise the design.

If you want to enlarge an area of paving, or improve its appearance, it may be possible to pave over the top and thus avoid the arduous task of removing the original.

Modifying the shape of your lawn is easier than digging it up and relaying a new one.

Garden styles

The garden styles outlined here are not exhaustive, and probably none of them will be exactly right for your own garden, but they will help you to clarify your thoughts.


Parterres and knot gardens: Shaped beds and compartments originally designed to be viewed from above. Knot herb gardens, such as ones based on intricate Elizabethan designs, can be stunning but are expensive to create, slow to establish and labour intensive.

Formal herb gardens: Easier to create than knot gardens. Seek inspiration from illustrated herb garden books -both old and new. It is easier to create one if based on a theme.

Formal rose gardens: Easy to create and can look good in first season. For year-round interest under plant with spring bulbs and edge beds with seasonal flowers.

Paved gardens: Particularly suitable for small gardens. Plant in open areas left in paving, up walls and in raised beds and containers.

Courtyard gardens: Floor tiles and white walls (to reflect light), together with some lush green foliage, an architectural’ tree or large shrub and the sound of running water will transform a backyard into a delightful courtyard garden.

A modern interpretation of an Elizabethan knot garden, with gravel and brick paving to keep weeding to a minimum

Traditional designs: A small formal garden, with rectangular lawn, straight herbaceous border plus rose and flowerbeds is a popular choice for growing a variety of summer bedding and other favourites.


Cottage gardens: The juxtaposition of old-fashioned’ plants and vegetables creates a casual but colourful look. Place brick paths or stepping stones through the beds.

Wildlife gardens: Even a tiny plot can attract small animals and insects. Planting must provide shelter and food, while a water feature will encourage aquatic wildlife.

Woodland gardens: Shrubs and small deciduous trees suit a long narrow garden and are effective for screening and dividing up the garden. Under-plant with naturalized bulbs, woodland spring flowers and ferns.

Meandering meadows: Where there is an attractive view, a sweep of grass between curved borders can merge with an unobstructed boundary. If the view is unappealing, curve the border round so that the lawn finishes beyond the point of view.

Decorative features



Borders, for herbaceous Borders, for shrubs Borders, mixed


Bright beds and borders: If plants are more important than design, use sweeping beds and borders with lots of shrubs and herbaceous plants to give shape. Use focal points such as ornaments, garden seats or birdbaths to create a strong sense of design.

Distant influences

Japanese gardens: Raked sand and grouped stones translate well to a small space, making a confined area appear larger. Plants can be kept to a minimum. Stone and gravel gardens: These materials can be used to create a dry-river bed feel. Minimal maintenance if you select drought-tolerant plants.

Functional features

Compost area


Tool shed


Children’s play area Climbing frame

Clothes drying area Dustbin (trash can) area Sandpit


In most cities and urban environments, back gardens are small and shady, but these factors need not restrict the garden’s potential, as these great splashes of colour show.

Choosing a style

The most comfortable and visually pleasing gardens are usually the result of careful planning, even those with an informal feel to them. Formal gardens appeal to those who delight in crisp, neat edges, straight lines and a sense of order. Many traditional suburban gardens are formal in outline, with rectangular lawns flanked by straight flower borders, and perhaps rectangular or circular flower beds cut into them. Such rigid designs are often dictated by the drive for the car and straight paths laid by the house builder.

The informality of the cottage garden and the ‘wilderness’ atmosphere of a wild garden are difficult to achieve in a small space, especially in a town. However, with fences well clothed with plants so that modern buildings do not intrude, an informal garden can work even here.

Professional garden designers are frequently influenced by classic styles from other countries, especially Japan, but amateurs are often nervous of trying such designs themselves. Provided you start with the clear premise that what pleases you is the only real criterion of whether something works, creating a particular foreign style can be great fun. Adapt the chosen style to suit climate, landscape and the availability of suitable plants and materials.


Before you draw up your design, make a list of requirements for your ideal garden. You will almost certainly have to abandon or defer some of them, but at least you will realize which features are most important to you.

Use this checklist of suggested features at the rough plan stage, when decisions have to be made… and it is easy to change your mind!

Herb garden

Lawn (mainly for decoration)Lawn (mainly for recreation)Ornaments

Patio/terrace Pergola


Raised beds

Summer house


Vegetable plot

Planting Tulips

Tulips are bulbous plants which are natives of the Old World, where they occur in an area extending from the Mediterranean region to Japan. There are some 60 species and several thousand horticultural forms. They are doubtless the most popular bulbous garden plants.

Species of Tulips

These tulips have been derived from wild species, and generally breed true from seed. Species tulips, also known as botanical tulips, are not generally grown in quantity as are the garden tulips. Most are early flowering and prefer a dry, sunny location. They are planted in groups in the border or rock garden. Among the best species are the dwarf T. dasystemon with violet and yellow flowers; lady tulip (T. Clusiana) with striped flowers; T. biflora with white and yellow flowers; and the many cultivars of T. Fosteriana, including Red Emperor or Madam Lefeber with bright red flowers, Gold Beater with golden flowers and Pinkeen with orange flowers.

Garden Tulips

Flowers of the breeder tulips appear in May and can be recognized by their rounded base and square-edged sepals and petals.

They spread them over Europe. Since then the Dutch have been the great breeders of tulips. Most garden tulips were derived from innumerable crosses with the species T. Gesneriana and T. suaveolens, and the thousands of named forms which have since arisen. Garden tulips are divided into groups as follows:

Breeder Tulips

These are tall-stemmed tulips which bloom in May. The flowers are distinctive in that they have a rounded base, while the sepals and petals have square ends. The Dutch varieties have oval or cup-shaped flowers mostly in shades of brown, purple bronze, or red, but the base of the flower is white or yellow, and often stained blue, green or blue black. The English varieties have ball-like flowers, the base of which is yellow or white but not stained with any other color.

Cottage Tulips

These are tall-stemmed, May-blooming tulips with self-colored, mostly pointed or rounded sepals and petals. The flowers in general have a square or somewhat rounded base and pointed or rounded tip.

Darwin Tulips

These are the tallest of the self-colored May-flowering tulips. They may be recognized by the flower which has a somewhat rectangular base, while the sepals and petals are square-tipped or rounded.

Early Tulips

These are the first of the tulips to bloom and follow close behind crocuses. They are chiefly dwarf in habit and may have single or double flowers in a variety of colors. Typical of the early tulips is the Ducvan Thol.

Griegii Tulips

These tulips have mottled or striped leaves and bloom later than most other types.

Lily-Flowered Tulips

These are tall-stemmed, May-flowering tulips with the sepals and petals distinctly long-tipped.

Mendel Tulips

These are medium-early flowering tulips derived from crossing the Ducvan Thol with the Darwin varieties.

Triumph Tulips

These are tall, early-flowering tulips, blooming just after the early tulips.

Tulip Planting and Culture

In selecting tulips for the garden, the background must be considered. For instance, a yellow tulip would seem to be an intruder in front of a pink-flowered dogwood or a flowering crab apple tree, but would be fine near the violet blue racemes of Japanese wisteria (Wisteria floribunda).Matching the flowers of tulips with those of flowering shrubs and trees can be fun.

Tulips seem to be at their best in the garden growing with other plants, such at pansies, bluebells, forget-me-nots, rock cress, lungwort, Jacob’s-ladder, English wallflower, bleeding-heart, doronicum, and the often harsh basket-of-gold. But they may also be plant together in groups in a bed or border to pro-duce striking color schemes.

The bulbs grow best in well-drained light loam. The soil should be deep and enriches with plenty of well-rotted manure or compose to insure good plant growth and large flower, over a period of several years. Fertilizers such as bone meal, cow or sheep manure, or corn-post are excellent dressings. Tulips will usually do better and bloom earlier in the sun than in half shade. Large bulbs may be planted deeper than small ones. The ideal depth is from four to six inches and they should be about four to nine inches apart. If bulbs are planted too deep, they weaken as they push through the soil, but if planted too shallow, they may be heaved out of the soil, or possibly frozen. When setting the bulbs in the soil, give a half twist as though screwing the bulb into the soil; this assures that the base of the bulb is in direct contact with the soil.

Never cut the green leaves at any time, these leaves feed the bulb with new food to be stored for the next season. When the leaves begin to turn yellowish at the base and have a withered appearance, they can be pulled out easily from the soil. The bulbs are then more or less cured and may remain in the ground for at least two more seasons or even a third if the flowers have appeared well the last season.

Lifting and Storing Bulbs

Lack of flower development is a sign that the bulbs should be reset. Lifted bulbs may be reset in new bed immediately, or they may be stored for the fall planting. Tulip bulbs do not usually last for years in the ground without special requirements. Left in the ground, they may rot during the summer from too much moisture or beaten by rodents who love the juicy pulp.


The first or second week in June is a good time to remove tulip bulbs. By this time the late Darwins have finished blooming. If you are too busy at the time, the bulbs may be removed as late as the end of the month. But, the sooner the better, as the stems will be firmer, and there will be less chance of their breaking. Stem and bulb must remain intact for proper curing.

Use a spade to lift the bulbs from the ground. A garden fork does not give the necessary protection during the lift. Insert the spade least four inches from each tulip stem. Force the spade straight down to a depth of six inches.

Then, gently press down upon the handle, pushing outward, until the ground heaves and the plant moves. Bring the bulb to the surface and carefully shake it free of dirt, taking care not to snap off the stem. The new bulbs need the nourishment stored in the stem now that their soil food supply has been cut off.

Place your stemmed bulbs neatly in a pile until all have been taken up. If it is bright and sunny, protect the tender bulbs with a damp sack or heavy paper. Never expose tulip bulbs to the direct rays of the sun.

Hilling In

After your bulbs have been dug and each variety placed upon a separate pile, remove them to a protected part of your garden. In a vacant spot, dig a trench long and deep enough to accommodate all the bulbs. Carefully lay the bulbs in the trench and, before hilling in, stake or number each variety so you will know which is which when you lift them later.

Cover the bulbs with at least six inches of soil, but allow the green stems to remain exposed to the hot sun. As the sun dries the stalks, the food supply gradually trickles down to the bulbs. There, it is stored for next year’s growth.


In about a week or two, as soon as the stems have turned yellow, remove the bulbs from the trench. Never allow them to remain hilled in more than three weeks, or they will rot. Run your fingers through the loose dirt after lifting, to get all the tiny bulblets that might have broken off. Spread the bulbs out on a flat surface in a heavy shade to dry for about an hour. Then continue removing the bulbs from the stems and casings.

As you begin your work you will notice that the bulbs are encased in a thick, brown pouch of cloth like fiber. Tear this apart, and remove all bulbs found among the different layers. No bulblet is too small to save. Even the tiniest grows to a reasonable size in one year. Besides the parent bulb, you will find as many as four or five bulblets with each stem. These smaller bulbs should be planted separately in the fall.

When the pouch is completely empty, throw it on a pile with the discarded stems. Later, this can be added to your compost heap or mulching material.

As the bulbs are removed from their casings, it is wise to place them immediately in trays specially built for tulip bulbs. These trays are nothing more than large squares with two-inch-high sides, and bottomed with heavy window screening to prevent the loss of tiny bulblets. If you have several different varieties, you might partition off the squares and save room. Some sort of legs in the form of one-inch blocks should be nailed under each corner to allow a good circulation of air through the moist bulbs.

Don’t forget to tag the trays if you have several varieties of tulips. This information will enable you to plant different arrangements in your beds next fall to create striking color effects in spring.

Storing Tulips

As soon as you have finished this phase of work, take the bulbs indoors immediately. Set the filled trays in a warm, dry place. The attic floor of your home or garage is excellent. Place the trays on the floor individually. That is, don’t pile one on top of the other. And don’t worry about the heat concentrating too heavily over the bulbs during the hot summer. It won’t hurt them a bit. The hotter it is, the drier the air will remain. Tulip bulbs must be kept completely dry to prevent rotting.

Roll the bulbs back and forth in the trays several times during the first two weeks of curing to prevent moisture from gathering among the bulbs. One turning per week for the following month will finish the job. It is best to allow the bulbs to remain in their tram until planting time.

If your bulbs are bothered by mice, be sure to set traps or tack another sheet at window screening across the tops of the tress. Mice love the taste of tulip bulbs, and can eat away quite a few by fall.

Planting Grapes

Grapes are frequently prized fruit producing plants in the home garden. They need room in which to grow; they need annual and heavy pruning if they are to produce many fruits; they need spraying and fertilizing. In most areas, home-grown grapes are not difficult to grow, but they do need some sort of trellis or support. You have less opportunity to grow grapes, if you have a small garden.

They can be divided into 3 general classes as far as cultivation in the United States is concerned. Vitis vinifera is the European grape, many varieties of which are grown in southern Europe. In the United States they can be grown only in Calif., the Northwest Pacific Coast states and to some extent in Ariz. They can not be grown successfully elsewhere, but in those states they are almost the only ones grown, for they are superior to our Native American grapes and their many hybrids.

The second great group of grapes is derived from the native V. labrusca or Fox Grape, native to eastern North America. There are many hybrids of this type, some of them crossing with V. vinifera. One of the most popular of the V. labrusca hybrids is ‘Concord’, widely grown throughout the greater part of the country east of the Rocky Mountains and especially in the northern and northeastern United States.

The third group of grapes derived from V. rotundifolia, the Muscadine Grape, is grown only in the South where they will produce in the climate there and other grapes will not. Consequently, the home gardener selects the varieties he chooses to grow from one of these 3 groups, depending on the part of the country in which he lives.

Grapes prefer a sunny well-drained soil. Most of the commercial grape-growing areas in the East are located near large bodies of water which reduce the advent of frosts in the early fall, and give the fruit a chance to ripen fully. Areas near the Great Lakes, in Ark. and Mo. are in this category. Frost “pockets,” or low spots where early frosts occur, should not be used for planting grapes. Fortunately they will grow on a wide range of soils.

Grape Propagation

Many grapes are easily grown from hard woodcuttings and are then on their own roots. The home gardener can easily do this or he can layer stems on the ground. However, it is unfortunate that in many areas of the country, especially on sites of older vineyards, various diseases and insects take their toll of grapes by feeding on the roots. Recently there has been much work done in ascertaining which rootstocks arc “resistant” to these problems, and some excellent resistant rootstocks have been produced by various state and federal experiment stations. Popular varieties are then grafted on these so-called “resistant” root-stocks, with the result that the vines are far better able to grow in areas where disease and insect pests injure or destroy “own-rooted” types. It probably pays most home owners to play it safe and obtain varieties which have been grafted on resistant rootstocks.

Such plants should be watched carefully, for shoots from the roots if allowed to develop would produce grapes usually inferior to the clone grafted on them. All shoots coming from the rootstock should be removed; a rule to follow in growing any kind of grafted stock.

In New York at least, one of the best of the resistant rootstocks is ‘Couderc 3309’, but others are undoubtedly available in other areas. The local state experiment station would give the latest information on this score.

Grape Planting

One-year-old vines are the ones usually planted either in the spring or in the fall, but, if planted in the fall special care might be taken in northern areas to mound the soil about the base of the vine to prevent them being “heaved” out of the soil by alternate freezing and thawing winter weather.

Vines are usually planted about 8 ft. apart and cut back to about 2 buds. Mulch might well be placed about the plant but no fertilizer should be used at planting time. One should remember that grapes are very susceptible to injury from overdoses of fertilizers or chemicals used in weed control. Extreme care should be taken in applying these materials.

Grape Trellis

Grapes must have a means of support. The old-fashioned grape arbor was one method of supplying this, but there are so many other ornamental vines now available that if an arbor is used in the garden, a vine more decorative than the grape is usually selected. Grapes are easily grown on a wire trellis consisting of 2 wires, attached to sturdy posts about 10 ft. apart. One wire should be about 30 in. above the ground, and the second about 36 in. above the first.

The vine is trained to a single stalk with a branch trained each way on the 2 wires, often referred to as the 4-arm Kniffin System. Although there are other methods of training grapes, this is by far the most popular system and the easiest one to use for the home gardener.

Grape Pruning

This is best done in winter or very early spring before the sap begins to flow. If the pruning is done late in spring the cut ends will “bleed” profusely and, although there is no evidence to prove this is harmful to the vines, certainly it does not seem to be desirable if it can be avoided by pruning while the vines are dormant. Pruning when the vine is in leaf just removes so many food manufacturing organs from the plant and this is decidedly harmful when done at this time.

Grapes are borne on shoots that grow from buds on 1-year-old canes. The whole idea is to allow just enough of these to develop to produce the number of grapes that the vine will reasonably support. If left unpruned, the vine will get very woody, clogged with dead wood, and will produce far too many small, poorly-developed bunches of grapes. To maintain a vigorous vine, reduce the old wood to a minimum and replace this with young canes.

Grape Harvesting

Grapes grown in the home garden should not be picked until fully ripened on the vine. This brings up the problems in some areas of birds eating the berries before they are picked. We have been very troubled with this situation, but finally corrected it merely by throwing a large piece of saran cloth or netting over the 6 ft. trellis, covering the vines from ground to top on both sides. In this way, the grapes receive normal amounts of sunshine and air and one can check the ripening process. The cloth is put over the 2-wire trellis about 3-4 weeks before the fruits normally ripen. This is another good reason for growing grapes on a simple 2-wire trellis, for this is very easily covered, whereas a large arbor would not be.

Grape Insect Pests

Like other fruits, grapes require that a specific schedule for pest control be followed in order to produce a profitable crop. Early in the season flea beetles cat the buds, grape plume moth cripples the buds and cane girdler cuts off the new shoots. A dormant spray with insecticide kills the eggs of the plume moth and controls the grape scale and the cottony maple scale. Sprays of insecticide control the leaf-eating insects and the grape tomato gall which makes globular galls on the leaves and stems. Japanese beetle, rose chafer and the light-loving beetle have a strong liking for grape foliage. Insecticides give control without excessive residue.

Grape phylloxera, which is primarily a root aphid, nearly prohibits the culture of European grapes on their own roots. In America, American varieties or others grafted on them are grown. Spraying with insecticide helps to check the gall-making form on the leaves. The most important insect pest of the fruit is the grape berry moth. The first generation eats the leaves and buds and the second and third generations eat the berries. When preparing to pupate they cut and fold parts of the leaf to form a shelter. A single worm may infest several berries. Careful spraying with insecticide, especially when the berries are about half grown, is necessary.

Grape Diseases

Black rot is a serious fruit disease although it is also present on the leaves and canes. Infected fruit becomes hard and brown before it dries to the well-known mummies in which the disease overwinters. Destruction of infected fruit and sprays with fungicide just before and just after bloom is effective. Downy mildew infections on the leaves are controlled by the above treatment.

A regular schedule prepared by local authorities in pest control should be followed.

Planting Avocado Trees

In Florida, Southern California and other frost-free regions, the avocado is a practical fruit and shade tree for the home grounds, thriving either in or out of the lawn area. A heavy mulch or cover crop should be maintained beneath the tree to conserve soil moisture and keep weeds in check. Avocado flowers are borne in winter, when subfreezing temperatures will destroy the crop. Its bearing habit is cyclical; heavy crops are invariably followed by lighter yields. Protection must be provided from strong winds and intense dry heat.

Planting Avocados

Avocados are planted from November through May. The planting hole should be at least twice as large as the root ball, to give the tender roots room to establish themselves.

In the bottom of the hole, place two shovels full of well-rotted compost mixed with the same quantity of good topsoil, preferably a rich sandy loam. If the hole is three feet deep, these amounts could be increased. Add enough topsoil to bring the top of the ball of roots level with the ground. Place the tree on this in the center of the hole and fill in with good soil in which some compost is mixed. This will put humus in the soil. Firm the mixture around the ball of roots as the filling in proceeds. When the hole is almost filled in, have a gentle stream of water from the hose run in to settle the soil, so there will be no air pockets. Let the water run long enough so it will reach down below the ball of roots, then fill in with more soil to bring it up to ground level. Make a basin around the tree to hold water. Give a thorough watering once or twice a week until the newly planted tree is established. When it has put out eight or nine inches of new growth, once in two weeks should be enough to water unless the soil has very free drainage and the weather is very hot. Keep the water running for 45 to 60 minutes. Temperatures and soil conditions vary in different districts. No set of rules can be given that will be used to cover all sections, and a little experience will show what the right amount is. If there is good drainage any excess water will drain away.

As the trees grow, additional feeding may be given by applying a trowel full of blood meal and two of bone meal once in six weeks during spring and summer. Do not apply after August, for the new growth may be nipped in sections where there is danger of frost. Always give deep watering after applying fertilizer.

Do not cut off lower branches. They protect the trunk from sunburn. There are preparations on the market with which to paint the trunk for sun protection.

No pruning is required except to keep the tree in shape, well balanced and symmetrical in growth. In old trees keep all dead wood cut out. Never expose large bare branches to the sun as they are easily sunburned.

Cultivation should not be done near the roots, as they resent being disturbed. Keep a mulch of compost, leaves or old steer manure on the ground around the trees throughout the year. There will have to be several fresh applications of compost, as it will wash into the soil. The mulch should be three to four inches deep. Keep it several inches away from the trunk of the tree. Water the trees well before putting on the mulch.

Varieties of Avocados

Duke is a hardy variety for interior valleys and colder districts. It has a green, oval fruit of pleasant flavor. The tree is large, well branched and is one of the fastest growing avocados, with the fruit ripening in September and October.

Fuerte has a fruit of fine quality and is the leading commercial variety. The tree is large and spreading, and it grows well in the California coastal belt. It ripens in various localities anywhere from November to May.

The fruit of the Edranal variety has a rich, nutty flavor, and does not discolor when fully ripe. The tree is of upright growth, excellent for the home garden, as it requires less room than other varieties. It has large fruit with small seed and ripens from May to August.

Anaheim has a large, green, oval fruit that ripens from May to August. The tree is of upright growth and bears heavily.

Hass has one of the longest ripening seasons and produces a heavy crop each year. This purple black avocado is of fine flavor, and is perhaps the leading summer-ripening avocado grown commercially. It is excellent in the California coastal and foothill areas, ripening from May through October.

Ryan has fruit of finest quality and ripens after Fuerte, bearing a heavy crop each year. The fruit, pear shaped and green, ripens from May to October.

Nabal is particularly good in coastal areas. The fruit is round with seed and smooth skin. The flesh is rich and of exceptionally fine flavor, ripening from June to September.

Pueblo is a very fine home variety which is hardy to frost. From November to January the small trees bear heavy crops of large dark pear-shaped fruit with superior flavor.

Nutritional Value of Avocados

Avocados are rich in vitamins A, C and E. Other nutrients include thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid, biotin, potassium, calcium, and iron. Avocados are high in unsaturated fatty acids. Because of their high unsaturated fatty acid content, they are credited with the ability to lower the cholesterol level in the bloodstream.

Avocados also make fine potted plants in-doors. To start the seed, place it large end down in the mouth of a jar full of water. Insert toothpicks in the seed. When a root forms and shoots appear, it is ready to pot. Grow near a sunny window, and pinch of terminal growth to prevent spindliness.

Planting Chrysanthemum Seeds

Chrysanthemum is a genus which has contributed several species to the flower garden. Hardy chrysanthemums are among the popular and important garden flowers oust of the long, colorful show they put on in summer and fall. By choosing carefully the hundreds of varieties, the gardeners have chrysanthemum blooming nearly all year round. They can be grown in containers and watered carefully. The dwarfs can be dug with a generous earth when in bud or flower and moved to a dull corner of the garden. Few have such a variety of color and form, are excellent for cutting.

Hardy chrysanthemums require a great maintenance to keep them in top form. If you are a person who has little time to work with, you should avoid having large plants. While they can be propagated, cuttings and seed, most gardeners will divide. Indeed, (or at most, biennial) division in spring may help keep them flowering well. When looking at the clump, you will notice many pale usually with a tuft of small leaves spreading out among the darker roots base of the plant. Each one of these can grow into a large flowering plant by cut off as many as you will need and the rest of the old clump. If you started with larger divisions, use a sharp knife and cut pieces with several new crowns. Small divisions or stolons make the best and they should be set out in full sun in compost or rotted manure, which supplemented with bone meal or sludge are heavy feeders and will benefit from dressings of compost during the growing season. They must be watered carefully at all stages of growth: Drying of the soil in the heat of summer will stunt growth and diminish flowering.

When the young plants have grown six or eight inches tall, pinch out the tip of each stem to induce side-branching. Pinch again after each six inches of growth until mid-July, after which the plants should be left alone so they form flower buds. This early pinching induces heavier flowering and helps to keep tall varieties more compact. The cushion mums, which mature at 12 inches or less, are self-branching and should not be pinched. Some varieties, such as the football and spider mums which develop very large flowers, should be disbudded to make them look really spectacular. All secondary flower buds are removed, allowing each stem only one bud at the top which opens into a flower that can be five to eight inches across. Such varieties usually bloom too late to mature before frost and the flowers can’t take heavy rains, so they are best left to florists and greenhouses. While some-times advertised as being suitable for the open garden, they are really not.

Almost everyone knows of or owns chrysanthemum plants which seem to survive and bloom year after year with little or no winter protection. Even so, the term “hardy chrysanthemum” can be misleading because too often a newly bought variety which was planted in spring and bloomed in fall dies in the winter. This is often caused by poor drainage; while mums require abundant moisture during the growing season; their soil must never be soggy in winter. Try not to plant them in heavy clays if you wish to winter them in the garden. To prevent alternate freezing and thawing, cover the plants with airy mulch such as straw, evergreen boughs or an inverted basket in winter. To be sure that choice variety survives, dig them with earth balls after frost has killed the tops and store them under light mulch in a cold frame for the winter. In spring, plant several of the stolons and compost the old plants. Treated this way, any hardy mum will grow and bloom well each season.

There are several recognized flower types of hardy chrysanthemums of which the button, pompon, decorative, and single-flowered types are most suitable for the open border. There are many named varieties to choose from in each class, so check the catalogs for those which appeal to you most. The cushion or dwarf types might be the best for busy gardeners because they do not need pinching.

Tiling Tools

For almost any ceramic tiling job, large or small, the following are needed: tile adhesive; a notched adhesive spreader; some tile spacers; lengths of tile edge trim (optional); grout plus a flexible spreader; a steel tape measure; some lengths of 38 x 12 nut/11/2 x 1/2 in softwood battening (furring strips),plus masonry pins and a hammer for supporting the tiles on large wall areas; a spirit level; a tile cutter; a tile saw; agile file; a piece of dowel for shaping the grout lines; a pencil and felt-tip pen; some sponges and cloths for wiping and polishing. Silicone sealant or mastic (caulking) is also useful for waterproofing joints where tiling abuts baths, basins and shower trays.

Tile cutters range from the basic —an angled cutting tip attached to a handle, jigs that guarantee perfectly accurate cuts every time. A tile saw is useful for making shaped cut-outs to get around obstacles such as pipe work, and a tile file helps to smooth cut edges.

Both adhesive and grout for wall tiling are now usually sold ready-mixed in plastic tubs complete with a notched plastic spreader. For areas that will get the occasional splash or may suffer from condensation, a water-resistant adhesive and grout is perfectly adequate, but for surfaces such as shower cubicles which will have to withstand prolonged wetting it is essential to use both waterproof adhesive and waterproof grout. Always use waterproof grout on riled worktops; ordinary grout will harbour germs.

Grout is generally white, but coloured grout is on sale and will make a feature of the grout lines (an effect that looks best with plain or fairly neutral patterned riles).


These include a tile saw adhesive a polishing cloth, a spirit level, tile edge nippers, a tile cutter snapper or a tiling jig, a tile scriber, a tile cutter with width and angle jig, a heavy duty tile cutter, tile files or a rile edge sander with abrasive strips, masking tape, masonry nails, a hammer, a home-made tile gauge, a retractable steel measure, a pencil, adhesive spreaders, a grout finisher or dowel , tile edging trim, small and large tile spacers, a grout remover a grout spreader, grout and battens (furring strips).

Ceramic floor tile adhesive is widely available in powder form as well as ready-mixed. It is best always to use a waterproof type (plus waterproof grout), even in theoretically dry areas.

Adhesive and grout are both sold in a range of quantities, sometimes labelled by weight, sometimes by volume; always check the coverage specified by the manufacturer on the packaging when buying, so as not to overbuy or run out during the job.

Tools for cork, vinyl and lino tiles only a few simple tools are needed to lay cork and vinyl tiles, but, except for the self-adhesive type, special tile adhesive is required. This is sold ready-mixed in nibs, and usually comes complete with a notched spreader.

Special water-based adhesive is the type to choose for both cork and linoleum tiles; solvent-based contact adhesives were formerly the first choice, but their fumes are extremely unpleasant and also dangerously flammable, and they are no longer recommended. For vinyl-coated cortiles a special vinyl acrylic adhesive is needed. For vinyl tiles, an emulsion-type latex flooring adhesive is best.

For unsealed cork tiles a sealer is required. Ordinary polyurethane varnish, as used for furniture, will do; there are also special floor scalers. Three coats will be needed.

Tools are simply a tape measure, a sharp utility knife and a steel straightedge for marking and cutting border riles. A proprietary profile gauge with sliding steel or plastic needles makes it easy to cut riles to fit round awkward obstacles such as architraves (trims) and pipe work. But it is just as effective, and less costly, to cut a template from card or paper.