Fruiting the Papaya in the Greenhouse.—"We have them for breakfast
every morning," wrote the friend of our boyhood, in sending us the seeds
from Manila, P.I. This was enough to make them interesting to us, aside from
being a novelty that might e worth trying. Years before we had sown seeds
from Florida, and found they germinated almost as readily as tomatoes, but
had then been unable to carry them farther than the first summer. Now we had
better facilities, and wanted to see what they would do. We sowed the seeds
in a small box, and when the young plants were several inches high, potted
them up. In a year's time they were in six-inch posts, and the largest were
then about two feet high. We picked out two of the best and planted them
together in the box seen in the illustration, where they at once made a
wonderful growth, and in the fall began blooming. Fortune had favored us,
for the trees proved to be mated, one staminate, one pistillate.
Curiously enough, the first half of the year is a resting period,
but from July to December the growth is rapid. The staminate flowers are
produced throughout the year, but during the resting period the stems of the
clusters are short. During the rapid growth of autumn, the stems lengthen to
from twelve to twenty inches, and the clusters are beautiful for decorative
purposes, with cream-colored waxen flowers amid an abundance of buds. They
last when cut, for weeks, and have a pleasing fragrance, almost too heavy at
times. The pistillate flowers, borne only during the fall months, are much
larger, stemless, and borne singly in the axils of the leaves; hence are
very few in number compared with the abundance of the others, and having no
cut flower value, are of interest chiefly as forerunners of the fruit crop.
We were disappointed when one after another, the pistillate
buds dropped off without opening. Finally one developed properly, and we
pollinated it with the flowers from the other tree, and the young fruit
began to grow. When it had reached the size and appearance of a May-apple or
Mandrake fruit it, too, dropped off. The next season we were more
successful, and three fruits were matured.
Early in June the largest began to show yellow, and soon felt
mellow to the thumb; but it continued getting yellower until the green
showed only in mottlings on one side, and a pronounced musky odor developed,
by no means tempting. Then we picked it. When the knife went through we
almost regretted our rashness, for the hollow fruit was thickly lined on its
inside surface with what looked suspiciously like toads' eggs, each dark
seed being surrounded by a whitish gelatinous covering. This fruit was nine
inches long, and weighed three pounds.
After fruiting we removed the bottom from the box, and set the
plants on one of the ground beds of the greenhouse, so they may have all the
root room they desire. To our surprise we found they were far from potbound,
the roots showing very little on the bottom of the small box.—J. C.
The Opal Anchusa.—Prior to the
introduction into English gardens some fifteen years ago of Anchusa italica,
Dropmore variety, the member of this family had little claim upon the lovers
of perennial flowers, but to-day there are no more beautiful plants grown
than the improved forms of the Alkanet. I well remember the first appearance
of the Dropmore variety at the Temple Show in London, and it was certainly
the most popular plant of the year, being shown in superb form by Mr.
Maurice Pritchard of Christchurch. This variety is well known in American
gardens and its rich blue flowers make it one of the most striking plants of
the border in mid-summer. The variety Opal was introduced a few years
afterward and to my mind is more beautiful than the dark blue Dropmore. The
color of Opal is a glorious pale blue, similar to that of Delphinium
Belladonna, and during the blossoming period I do not know of any plant to
singularly handsome. This Anchusa deserves a prominent position in every
garden, and when it has become fully established, the second or third year
after planting, it makes a wonderful display. The main stem rises to a
height of five or six feet with numerous side branches and is completely
clothed with the flower panicles. It amply repays good cultivation and
should be planted in a well-drained border where water will not collect
around the crowns, and after the plants have become established they should
not be disturbed.—A. E. Thatcher, Bar Harbor, Me.
Cotton in New
England.—A few years ago I sent to a friend in New England a
half-matured cotton plant. Shortly afterward, I received in acknowledgment a
very enthusiastic letter.
Then, I received another letter from him the next autumn. "When
planting my garden last spring," he wrote, "I decided to try an experiment.
I separated the seeds from one of the bolls of cotton and planted them in a
bed prepared as for Petunias. This was May first. May fifth the gawky
seedlings like colossal, short-stemmed Nasturtiums appeared. There followed
a few cool nights during which
my cotton prospects were not bright. The plants turned yellow and dropped
the cotyledons leaving only a small green bud at the top of the short stalk.
But when June came they featherd out like spring chickens. Fuzzy growths
shot out from every side of the stem.
"By the twentieth of July the plants had attained a height of 2-1/2
feet. The funny buds (which you call 'squares') I mistook for bugs, and
destroyed nearly all of them before discovering my mistake. Near the first
of August the first blossom came. The first day it was pure white in color;
the second, it was pink turning to crimson in the afternoon; the third day
it curled up in the shape of a little doll, and fell to the ground leaving a
soft green ball the size of a pea where it had been.
"Soon some of the plants had from 20 to 30 bolls the size and shape
of partridge eggs. But frost came before one of them opened. I gathered
several of the larger and fullest matured fruits and hung them in my study
as souvenirs of my achievement. When I returned home one week later I
received another surprise. Hanging from the walls of my room were great
fluffy snow-white cotton bolls. I ran into the garden and the bolls upon the
old plants were bursted and the buds curled back so that you could see they
had made an effort to open, also. I never before saw a room so beautifully
decorated as is mine, and I veritably believe the decorations will last all
winter.—Buford Reid, Ark.
Weedy Tendencies of the Japanese
Knotweed.—I notice the Japanese or Giant Knotweed listed in several of the
new catalogues from several large seedhouses.
Now since its presence in the garden is a potential source of
danger possible purchasers should be warned. A comparatively new importation
from the Orient, the Giant Knotweed is beginning to make itself at home on
this side of the ocean; it is escaping its bounds and becoming a pestiferous
weed. One of the first places from which the plant has been reported as
escaping is the vicinity of Chester, Pennsylvania. Since then, according to
authorities whose duty it is to record the distribution of plants, it has
escaped locally throughout the territory from Newfoundland to Virginia and
from the Atlantic Ocean to the Mississippi River.
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