About Orchids eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 160 pages of information about About Orchids.
this sort in future, I substituted drain-pipes set on end; the first of those ideas which have won commendation from great authorities.  Drain-pipes do not encourage insects.  Filled with earth, each bears a showy plant—­lobelia, pyrethrum, saxifrage, or what not, with the utmost neatness, making a border; and they last eternally.  But there was still much stooping, of course, whilst I became more impatient of it.  One day a remedy flashed through my mind:  that happy thought which became the essence or principle of my gardening, and makes this account thereof worth attention perhaps.  Why not raise to a comfortable level all parts of the area over which I had need to bend?  Though no horticulturist, perhaps, ever had such a thought before, expense was the sole objection visible.  Called away just then for another long absence, I gave orders that no “dust” should leave the house; and found a monstrous heap on my return.  The road-contractors supplied “sweepings” at a shilling a load.  Beginning at the outskirts of my property, I raised a mound three feet high and three feet broad, replanted the shrubs on the back edge, and left a handsome border for flowers.  So well this succeeded, so admirably every plant throve in that compost, naturally drained and lifted to the sunlight, that I enlarged my views.

The soil is gravel, peculiarly bad for roses; and at no distant day my garden was a swamp, not unchronicled had we room to dwell on such matters.  The bit of lawn looked decent only at midsummer.  I first tackled the rose question.  The bushes and standards, such as they were, faced south, of course—­that is, behind the house.  A line of fruit-trees there began to shade them grievously.  Experts assured me that if I raised a bank against these, of such a height as I proposed, they would surely die; I paid no attention to the experts, nor did my fruit-trees.  The mound raised is, in fact, a crescent on the inner edge, thirty feet broad, seventy feet between the horns, square at the back behind the fruit-trees; a walk runs there, between it and the fence, and in the narrow space on either hand I grow such herbs as one cannot easily buy—­chervil, chives, tarragon.  Also I have beds of celeriac, and cold frames which yield a few cucumbers in the summer when emptied of plants.  Not one inch of ground is lost in my garden.

The roses occupy this crescent.  After sinking to its utmost now, the bank stands two feet six inches above the gravel path.  At that elevation they defied the shadow for years, and for the most part they will continue to do so as long as I feel any interest in their well-being.  But there is a space, the least important fortunately, where the shade, growing year by year, has got the mastery.  That space I have surrendered frankly, covering it over with the charming saxifrage, S. hypnoides, through which in spring push bluebells, primroses, and miscellaneous bulbs, while the exquisite green carpet frames pots of scarlet geranium and such bright

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About Orchids from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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