Auricula.—This is a species of primrose, and is sometimes called Bear’s Ear from the shape of its leaves. It succeeds best in a mixture of loam and peat, or in four parts rotten loam, two parts rotten cow dung, and one part silver sand; delights in shade, and will not bear too much water. It makes an effective border to beds, and is readily propagated by off-sets taken early in autumn, or in February or March, by division of roots immediately after flowering, or from seed sown in March on gentle heat in firmly pressed light, rich soil, covered with a piece of glass and shaded from the sun till the plants are well up, when sun and air is needed. When large enough to handle, prick them out in a cold frame 6 in. apart, and keep them there through the winter. Take care to press the soil well round the roots of off-sets. October is a good time for making new borders. The half-hardy kinds require the protection of a house in winter. Height, 6 in.
Avena Sterilis.—A very singular hardy-annual ornamental grass, generally known as Animated Oats. Very useful in a green state for mixing with cut flowers. Sow in March or early in April. Height, 3 ft.
Azaleas (Greenhouse).—A good soil for these deciduous shrubs is made by mixing a fair quantity of silver sand with good fibrous peat. The plants must never be allowed to become too wet nor too dry, and must be shaded from excessive sunshine. After they have flowered remove the remains of the blooms, place the plants out of doors in the sun to ripen the wood, or in a temperature of 60 degrees or 65 degrees, and syringe them freely twice a day. If they require shifting, it must be done directly the flowers have fallen. Cuttings taken off close to the plant will root in sand under a glass placed in heat. A. Indica is a plant of great beauty. Stand it in the open air in summer, in a partially shaded position. In winter remove it to a cool part of the greenhouse. The hardy varieties should receive the same treatment as rhododendrons. Flowers in June. Height, 4 ft.
Azara Microphylla—This hardy evergreen shrub, with its fan-like branches and small dark, glossy leaves, is very ornamental and sweet-scented. It is increased by placing cuttings of ripened wood in sand under glass with a little heat. Height, 3 ft.
Babianas.—Charming, sweet-scented flowers, suitable for either pot cultivation or the border. In August or September place five bulbs in a well-drained 5-in. pot, using rich, light, very sandy soil; cover them completely, and press the mould down gently. Water very sparingly until the roots are well formed; indeed, if the soil is moist when the bulbs are planted, no water will be needed till the new growth appears above ground. Stand the pots in ashes and cover them with 3 in. of cocoa-nut fibre. When the flower spikes are formed, give weak liquid manure twice a week till the flowers open. Keep them in a temperature of 55 degrees. When the foliage begins to die down gradually, lessen the amount of moisture given. The bulbs while dormant are best left in the pots. For cultivation in the open, choose a warm situation, make the soil light and sandy, adding a good proportion of well-rotted manure, and plant the bulbs 5 in. deep either in autumn or spring. Height, 6 in. to 9 in.