Lachenalia. (Cape Cowslips).—Charming greenhouse plants for pot or basket culture. Pot in December in a compost of fibrous loam, leaf-mold, and sand; place as near the glass as possible, and never allow the soil to become dry, but maintain good drainage, and only give a little water till they have produced their second leaves. No more heat is required than will keep out the frost.
Lactuca Sonchifolia. (Sow Thistle-Leaved Lettuce).—An ornamental, but not handsome, hardy perennial, with leaves 1 ft. in length and 9 in. in breadth. It is of neat habit and enjoys the sunshine. A deeply-dug, sandy loam suits it, and it may be increased by seed or division of the roots. The flowers are produced from September till frost sets in. Height, 2 ft.
Ladies' Slipper Orchid.—See "Cypripedium."
Lady's Mantle.—See "Alchemilla."
Lagurus Ovatus.—This hardy annual is commonly known as Hare's-Tail Grass. It is distinctly ornamental, producing elegant egg-shaped tufts of a silvery-white hue, and is fine for ornamenting bouquets. Sow in March, and keep the ground moist till the seed germinates. Height, 1 ft.
Lallemantia Canescens.—Bees are very fond of this blue hardy annual, which may readily be grown from seed sown in the spring. Height, 1 ft.
Lamium.—These plants are mostly of a hardy herbaceous description and of little value. They will grow well in any kind of soil, flowering from March to July, according to their varieties, and can be propagated by seed or division. Height, 6 in. to 1 ft.
Lantana.—These dwarf, bushy, half-hardy perennial shrubs bear Verbena-like blossoms. They like a dry and warm situation and rich, light soil. The seed is sown in March to produce summer and autumn blooming plants. If cuttings are placed in sand, in heat, they will take root easily. Height, 1 ft. to 1-1/2 ft.
Lapageria Rosea.—A beautiful climbing plant which bears large rose-colored flowers in May. It can be grown in any light, rich soil, but a compost of leaf-mold, sand, and peat suits it best. It makes a very desirable greenhouse plant, and can be increased either by cuttings or by division. Lapagerias require partial shade, plenty of water, and good drainage. Height, 10 ft.
Lardizabala Biternata.—This climbing shrub has fine ornamental foliage. It is most suitable for a south or west aspect, where it proves hardy; in other positions protection should be afforded. It will grow in any good soil. May is the month in which it flowers. Height, 20 ft.
Larkspur.—The Stock-flowered Larkspur is of the same habit as the Dutch Rocket, but has longer spikes and larger and more double flowers. The Hyacinth-flowered is an improved strain of the Rocket. Among other of the hardy annual varieties may be mentioned the Candelabrum-formed, the Emperor, and the Ranunculi-flowered. They are charming flowers for beds or mixed borders, and only require the same treatment as ordinary annuals, when they will flower in June. Height, 1 ft. to 2-1/2 ft. For perennial Larkspurs, see "Delphinium."
Lasiandra.—Stove evergreen shrubs, flourishing best in a mixture of equal parts of loam, peat, and sand. They are propagated by cuttings of the young wood, plunged in heat. July is their flowering month. Height, 5 ft.
Lasthenia.—A hardy annual of a rather pretty nature, suitable for flower-beds or borders. Autumn is the best time for sowing the seed, but it may also be sown early in the spring. It blooms in May. Height, 1 ft.
Lathyrus.—Handsome plants when in flower, the larger kinds being well adapted as backgrounds to other plants in the shrubbery, where they will require supports. They may be planted in any garden soil, and can be increased by seed, and some of the perennial kinds by division of the root. L. Latifolia (Everlasting Pea) flowers in August, other varieties at different times, from May onwards. Height, 1 ft. to 8 ft.
Laurel.—Laurels will grow in any good garden soil. They are grown both as bushes and standards, and require but little attention beyond watering. The standards are produced by choosing a young Portugal plant and gradually removing the side-shoots on the lower part of the stem, and when the desired height is reached a well-balanced head is cultivated, any eyes that break out on the stem being rubbed off with the thumb. Lauro Rotundifolia is beyond dispute the best of all Laurels; it is of free growth and of dense habit, and its leaves are roundish and of a lively green. (See also "Epigaea.") All Laurels may be propagated by cuttings and by layers, the latter being the plan usually adopted.
Laurestinus.—See "Viburnum Tinus."
Laurus.—See "Bay, Sweet."
Lavatera.—The greenhouse and frame kinds grow in any light soil, and are increased by cuttings of the ripened wood, under glass. The hardy herbaceous species grow well in any common soil, and are propagated by seeds or division. The annuals are sown in the open in spring. Some bloom in June, others as late as August. Height, 2 ft. to 5 ft.
Lavender (Lavandula Spied).—A hardy shrub whose sweetly-scented flowers, which are produced in August, are much prized. A dry, gravelly soil is what it likes best. Young plants should be raised every three years. It is readily propagated from seed sown in spring. Cuttings about 8 in. long, taken in autumn and planted 4 in. deep under a hand-light or in a shaded, sheltered position, will strike. Height, 1-1/2 ft.
Lawns—To make or renovate Lawns sow the seed on damp ground during March or April, if possible, but in any case not later than September, as the young plants are easily ruined by frost. Rake the seed in lightly, afterwards roll with a wooden roller, and carefully weed the ground until the grass is well established. To form a thick bottom quickly on new Lawns sow 60 lbs., or 3 bushels, to the acre; for improving old ones, 20 lbs. per acre. Frequent cutting and rolling is essential to success. If the grass is inclined to grow rank and coarse it will be much improved by a good dressing of sand over it; if it has an inclination to scald and burn up, sprinkle it with guano or soot just before a shower of rain. An accumulation of moss upon a lawn can only be cured by under-draining.
Lawns, Shrubs for.—See "Shrubs for Lawns."
Layering.—See under "Carnations."
Ledum (Labrador Tea).—Low-growing American evergreen shrubs, thriving best in sandy peat, and may be increased by layers.
Leek.—Sow early in March, and prick out the plants in rich soil, in a sheltered position, to strengthen. As soon as they are large enough, plant them out in very rich, light ground in drills 6 in. between each plant and the rows 18 in. apart. For large exhibition Leeks sow in boxes in February, under glass. Plant out in June in trenches 15 in. wide and 18 in. deep, with plenty of old manure at the bottom of the trench and 6 in. of good light mould on the top of it. Gradually earth up as the stems grow. Water liberally in dry weather, and give a little weak liquid manure occasionally.
Leontopodium.—Hardy perennials, succeeding best in peat soil. They are most suitable for rock-work, and may be increased by seed or division of the roots. Bloom is produced in June. Height, 6 in.
Leopard's Bane.—See "Doronicum."
Leptosiphon.—Charming hardy annuals which make nice pot-plants. The seed should be sown in rich, light soil—peat for preference. If this is done in autumn they will flower in April and May; if sown in spring they will bloom in autumn. They are very attractive in beds or ribbons, and also on rock-work. Height, 3 in. to 1 ft.
Leptospermum.—Neat greenhouse evergreen shrubs, most at home in equal portions of loam, peat, and sand. Cuttings may be struck in sand under glass. They flower in June. Height, 4 ft. to 5 ft.
Leschenaultia.—Elegant greenhouse shrubs, delighting in a mixture of turfy loam, peat, and sand. They are evergreen, flower in June, and are propagated by cuttings of the young wood under glass. Height, 1 ft.
Lettuce.—Sow early in February on a slight hotbed, and prick out into a well-manured and warm border, having the soil broken down fine on the surface. For early summer supplies sow outdoors in March, and at intervals till the middle of September for later crops. Some of the plants raised in September should be wintered in a cold frame, and the remainder transplanted to a dry, sheltered border, or protected with hand-lights. The June and July sowings may be made where the plants are intended to remain. They should stand from 6 to 9 in. apart. A north border is a suitable position in the summer months, as they are less exposed to the sun, and do not run to seed so quickly. The Cos Lettuce requires to be tied up to blanch; this should be done ten days before it is wanted for use. Cabbage Lettuce does not need to be tied.
Leucanthemum (Hardy Marguerites).—Same treatment as Chrysanthemum.
Leucojum (Snowflake).—Also known as St. Agnes' Flower. Handsome plants. The flowers are pure white, every petal being tipped with green, dropping in a cluster of from six to eight blooms, each nearly 1 in. long. They grow freely in almost any soil, sandy loam being preferable. Increased by off-sets from the bulb, or by seed as soon as it is ripe. The spring snowflake blooms in March, the summer variety in June. The latter is a much more vigorous plant than the former. Height, 12 in. to 18 in.
Leucophyton Browni.—A popular white-foliaged bedding plant, which may be increased by dibbling cuttings in sandy soil and placing them in a cool frame.
Lewisia Rediviva.—This makes a pretty rock-plant. It is a perennial and quite hardy, but requires plenty of sun. During April and May it produces large flowers varying in colour from satiny rose to white. The most suitable soil is a light loam mixed with brick rubbish. It is increased by division of the root, or it may be raised from seed. Height, 3 in.
Leycesteria Formosa.—Ornamental plants, the flowers resembling Hops of a purple colour. They will grow in any soil, but need protection in winter. They are multiplied by cuttings. Height, 3 ft.
Liatris Pycnostachya.—A curious old herbaceous perennial, now seldom met with, sending up late in summer a dense cylindrical purple spike 2 ft. high. It needs a rich, light, sandy soil, and to be protected during the winter with a thick covering of litter. The roots may be divided in the spring. Height, 3 ft.
Libertia Formosa.—The narrow foliage and spikes of pure white flowers, produced in May and June, render this hardy perennial very ornamental. The soil should consist of equal parts of loam and peat. It is propagated by dividing the roots. Height, 1 ft.
Libonia Floribunda.—This is a winter-flowering plant, and is easily grown in a cool greenhouse. It is very useful for table decoration, its slender red and yellow tubes of bloom being very effective, but it does not do to keep it for any length of time in a room where there is gas. When flowering has ceased, encourage new growth by giving it plenty of water, air, and sunlight. The new shoots should be cut back in May, and the tips of them used as cuttings, which strike readily in good mould. Height, 2 ft.
Ligustrum (Privet).—L. Ovalifolium is a handsome hardy evergreen, of very rapid growth, and one of the best ornamental hedge plants in cultivation, especially for towns or smoky situations. L. Japonicum is likewise ornamental and hardy: Tricolor is considered one of the best light-coloured variegated plants grown. L. Coriaceum is a slow-growing, compact bush with very dark, shining green leaves, which are round, thick, and leathery. Privet will grow in any soil or situation, and is readily increased by cuttings planted in the shade in spring.
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