Questions

What is the difference in value between peatmoss and peat? Between domestic and imported peat?

Peatmoss is moss (usually sphagnum) in an advanced state of disintegration; peat is a product of some kind of vegetation (not necessarily moss) largely decomposed. Domestic peat is usually of sedge origin, although we have some sphagnum peat in this country. Imported peat is usually sphagnum peat.

Peatmoss makes an excellent mulch. It adds acidity to soils, holds moisture, adds organic matter. When it breaks down, it adds nitrogen. Peat and manure make an excellent combination. Peat can aid as a fertilizer. Domestic sedge peat contains up to 3% nitrogen, which becomes available slowly. Sphagnum peat (“peatmoss”) contains less than 1% nitrogen. It is slower in availability than the sedge peat.

Peatmoss is good for flower gardens. When dug into the soil it helps retain moisture, and in other ways increases productiveness.

Apply the peat as a mulch in the fall, and work into the soil in the springtime.

1959, Rockwell, F.F., Editor, 10,000 Garden Questions, Vol 1, Doubleday, p.47-48

Bird Baths

What type of bird bath is good for the small garden?

Any well made concrete, marble, clay, wood, or stone bird baths that are available, as long as they are well designed and unobtrusive. Select a design which fits your garden plan. Homemade cement-and-field-stone bird baths are not usually desirable. For a small garden a height of 2 ½ ft is about right. If the bath is detached from the pedestal, it will facilitate cleaning.

1959, Rockwell, F.F., Editor, 10,000 Garden Questions, Vol 1, Doubleday, page 115

 Potpourris

What leaves and petals can be used for making a potpourri?

Any leaves or petals that have a pleasing fragrance may be used. Some of the best are rose, lavender, lemonverbena, jasmine, marigold, stock, mignonette, heliotope, violet, geranium, rosemary, lemon balm, mint, southernwood, santolina, pink, wallflower, thyme.

I want to make a potpourris with rose petals from my garden. How can I do this?

Pick the rose petals (red holds its color best) when the flowers are in full bud but not completely blown. Spread them carefully on sheets of paper or strips of cheesecloth in a dry completely. This will take away from the sun. Turn daily. Let them dry completely. This will take from a few days to a week. To each quart of petals add 1 oz of orrisroot. Spices such as cloves, cinnamon, coriander, and mace may be added, if desired, ½ a teaspoon of each. Keep in an airtight earthen jar.

1959, Rockwell, F.F., Editor, 10,000 Garden Questions, Vol 1, Doubleday, p.152

What special problems are involved in window box gardening?

first provide appropriate boxes with holes in bottom for drainage. put in 2 or 3 inches of cinders or broken brick, and fill with rich, porous soil. plant with appropriate material in the spring. regular attention to watering is of prime importance. fertilize as often as necessary.

Can you give some pointers on making window boxes?

make box to fit window space, but if the length is in excess of 3 ft make in two sections. For good results, the box should be not less than 8 ins. deep and 10 ins wide. use cypress or white pine at least 1 in. thick. bore 1/2 in holes, 6 inches apart, in bottom for drainage.

What is the best soil for window boxes?

One that is rich, with plenty of humus to retain moisture. use 2 parts loam, 1 part rotted manure or leafmold, with a 5 inch pot of bone meal mixed with each bushel.

Are wooden window boxes better than those made of concrete?

they are inexpensive and less weighty to handle if they have to be moved occasionally. On the other hand, they are less permanent.

Are the metal “self-watering” boxes satisfactory?

Yes, but don’t place too much reliance on the “self-watering” feature.

Can an old hot-water tank (cylindrical) be used as a porch box?

Yes. Have a tinsmith cut out a strip equal to 1/3 to 1/2 of the circumference for the entire length. Pucnh holes in the opposite side to drain off surplus water.

Is there any flowering plant suitable for window boxes which will hold up all summer and be colorful?

Lantana. Get potted plants in May; usually then in flower, they will bloom until frost. They stand heat, drought, and city conditions, but are at their best when well watered and pruned occasionally to restrain lanky growth. Stand partial shade, but prefer full sun. Balcony petunias are also good.

Which flowers grow in window boxes?

Among the most satisfactory are begonias, geraniums, fuchsias, ageratum, petunias, dwarf marigolds, torenias,, pansies, sweet alyssum, morningglory, vinca, sedum, balsam, portulaca and lobelia.

1959, Rockwell, F.F., Editor, 10,000 Garden Questions, Vol 1, Doubleday, p.189

Perennials

What is a hardy herbaceous perennial?

A plant which lives for several years, whose tops die in winter, but are renewed, from the same roots, each spring.

What is the average age of perennial plants sold by leading nurseries?

About 1 to 2 years old.

Can you suggest a selection of 24 perennials of easy culture, for succession of bloom?

Spring: Lily-of-the-valley, forget-me-not, coralbell, violet, bleedingheart (tall and dwarf), dwarf iris, mertensia, Phlox divaricata, ajuga. Summer: Campanula carpatica, C. carpatica alba, C. lactiflora, and C. persicifolia; astilbe, coreopsis, eupatorium, gaillardia, hemerocallis, bearded iris (tall), rosemallow, plantainlily, platycodon, hollyhock. Late summer and fall: plumbago, rudbeckia, chrysanthemum, hardy aster, helenium.

What are some of the more colorful perennials?

Ballonflower, Carpathian Bellflower, Chrysanthemum, columbine, coreopsis, dianthus, Erigeron speciosus, gaillardia, perennial flax, rudbeckia. Heliopsis scabra incomparabilis.

What bright-colored preennials can I use on the north side of my red brick house, to make an attractive rear terrace?

Aquilegia hybrids, Anchusa Myosotidiflora, Monarda fistulosa, Anemone hupehensis and A. magellanica, Dianthus deltoides and D. arenarius, Phlox subulata varieties, Plumbago larpentiae, Veronica incana.

1959, Rockwell, F.F., Editor, 10,000 Garden Questions, Vol 1, Doubleday, p.523