Snowdrops (Galanthus).—These are most effective in clumps. They may be planted at any time from September to December, and left alone for three or four years, when they may be taken up and divided. They grow best in a light, rich soil.
Snowdrop Tree.—See "Halesia."
Snow in Summer.—See "Arabis."
Soil and its Treatment.—Loam is a mixture of clay and sand. When the former predominates it is termed heavy loam, and when the latter abounds it is called light.
Marl is a compound of chalk and clay, or chalk and loam. Though suitable for certain fruit-trees and a few other things, few flowers will grow in it.
Drainage is one of the most important considerations in the cultivation of flowers. Should the soil be clayey, and hold water, make V-shaped drains, 3 ft. below the surface, and let 2-in. pipes lead to a deep hole made at the lowest part of the garden and filled with brick rubbish, or other porous substances, through which the water may drain; otherwise the cold, damp earth will rot the roots of the plants.
Trenching is the process of digging deep, so as to loosen and expose the soil as much as possible to the action of the air. If this is done in the autumn or early winter to a new garden, it is best to dig it deep, say about 2 ft, and leave it in large clods to the pulverizing action of the frost, after which it is easily raked level for spring planting. If the clods are turned over the grass will rot and help to improve the ground; new land thus treated will not require manuring the first year. Should the ground be clayey, fine ashes or coarse sand thrown over the rough clods after trenching will greatly improve it.
Digging should be done when the ground is fairly dry, and about one spade deep. Avoid treading it down as much as possible.
Hoeing must be constantly attended to, both to prevent the soil becoming exhausted of its nourishment by the rapid growth of weeds, and because when the surface becomes hard and cracked the rain runs through the deep fissures, leaving the surface soil dry and the roots of the plants unnourished.
Mulching consists in spreading a layer of stable manure, about 3 in. deep, over the roots of trees and plants in the autumn to keep them warm and moist. The manure may be forked into the soil in the spring.
Watering the plants carefully is of great consequence. Evening or early morning is the best time, and one copious application is far better than little and often. Water may be given to the roots at any time, but should not be sprinkled over the leaves in a hot sun nor in cold weather. Plants having a soft or woolly foliage should never be wetted overhead, but those with hard and shiny leaves may be freely syringed, especially when in full growth.
Solanum.—Showy greenhouse shrubs, some of which have ornamental foliage. The soil in which they are grown should be light and rich. Cuttings planted in sand under glass strike readily. The tender annual varieties may be sown on a hotbed in spring, and placed in the border at the end of May in a dry, sheltered situation, where they will flower in June. Height, 1 ft. and upwards.
Soldanellas.—These small herbaceous perennials should find a place in all Alpine collections. They grow best in sandy peat, or in leaf-mould with a liberal addition of sand, and they require a moderate amount of moisture. They may be increased by dividing the roots in April. They flower from March to May. Height, 4 in. or 5 in.
Solidago (Golden Rod).—A useful hardy perennial for the back of borders. Throughout late summer and autumn it produces masses of golden flowers. It is not over-particular as to soil, and may be increased by dividing the root in the spring. It increases very rapidly. Height, 2 ft. to 6 ft.
Solomon's Seal (Polygonatum Multiflorum).—A graceful hardy plant bearing white pendulent flowers on long curving stems. Plant freely in light, rich soil, in a shady position or under trees. The plants should not be disturbed, even by digging among the roots. Flowers in May. Height, 2 ft.
Soot-Water.—For room and window plants soot-water has this advantage over coarse animal manures, that while the latter are unhealthy and apt to taint the air, the former is purifying and has no unpleasant smell. It is easily made by tying a little soot in a coarse canvas bag and immersing it in a pail of water. It should be applied in a clear, thin state to plants in bud or in full growth during the summer months.
Sorrel.—Sow in March or April in any garden soil, thin out to 1 ft. apart. It is desirable to cut away the flower-stems and to divide the roots every two or three years. The plants may be forced for winter use.
Southernwood (Artemisia Arborea).—Any soil suits this odoriferous bush, and it is readily increased by cuttings or by division.
Sparaxis.—Closely allied to the Ixias, equally beautiful and varied in colour, but rather dwarfer and compact in growth. Invaluable for pot-culture. For outdoor cultivation plant them early in September, 5 or 6 in. deep, on a sheltered border, in rich, well-drained, loamy soil. Protect from frost and wet in the winter, but keep the roots moist while they are growing. For indoor cultivation plant four to six bulbs in a 5-in. pot, plunge in ashes in a cold frame, withholding water till the plants appear. When making full growth remove them to a sunny window or conservatory, and water them carefully. They will bloom in March or April. Height, 3 ft.
Sparmannia Africana.—An exceedingly handsome and attractive greenhouse evergreen shrub, thriving best in loam and peat. Cuttings may be struck in sand under glass. May is its flowering season. Height, 10 ft.
Spartium Junceum(Yellow Broom).—A hardy evergreen shrub which will grow in any soil, and is propagated by seeds. It flowers in August. Height, 6 ft.
Specularia Speculum.—See "Venus's Looking-Glass."
Spergula Pilfera.—May be grown in any moist situation in sandy soil. It is of little value.
Sphenogyne Speciosa.—An elegant hardy annual. Sow the seed early in spring on a gentle hotbed in loam and peat, harden off, and transplant at the end of May to a soil composed of loam and leaf-mould, if peat cannot be obtained. The bloom is produced in July. Height, 1 ft.
Spider Wort.—See "Commelina" and "Tradescantia."
Spigelia Marilandica.—From August to October this hardy perennial produces tubular crimson and yellow flowers. It finds a congenial home in damp peat, shaded from the sun, and may be propagated by cuttings in loam and peat under glass. Height, 1 ft.
Spinach.—For summer use sow the round-seeded kinds at intervals of two or three weeks from February to the end of July in rows 1 ft. apart, cover with the finest of soil, and thin out to a distance of 3 or 4 in. In dry weather give a liberal supply of manure water. Pull before it runs to seed. For winter use sow the prickly-seeded variety in August and September, and thin the plants out 9 in. apart. If the ground is hot and dry, the seed should be soaked for twenty-four hours before it is sown. New Zealand Spinach may be sown in the open during May, choosing the warmest spot for its growth; but it is best to sow it in heat in March, keeping the soil fairly moist, and, after hardening it off, to plant it out in June, 3 ft. apart Sow Perpetual Spinach or Spinach Beet in March in drills 1 ft. apart. Cut the leaves frequently, when a fresh crop will be produced.
Spiraeas.—Placed in the open ground these make splendid plants, and are not particular as to soil, though a moist, rich one is preferable. For forcing, plant the clumps in 6-in. pots, and keep them in a cool frame until they are well rooted. They may then be removed indoors and forced rapidly, supplying them with an abundance of water. Their elegant flower spikes are invaluable for bouquets and table decoration. The shrubby kinds are increased by layers or cuttings of the young wood, the herbaceous varieties by division of the roots in autumn. Spiraea Aruncus, if potted early in the autumn, is very valuable for winter decoration. Spiraeas bloom at different periods, from May to August, and vary in height, 3 or 4 ft. being the general growth.
Spruce Firs.—See "Abies."
Stachys Coccinea.—This scarlet hardy annual is fine for bees. It may be grown in any soil from seed sown in March or April. Height, 1 ft.
Stachys Lanata.—A hardy perennial which will grow in any soil, and bears division. It flowers in July. Height, 2 ft.
Staphylea Colchica(Mexican Bladder Nut).—This beautiful free-flowering shrub will grow in any garden soil, and produces bunches of fragrant, delicate white flowers in June. It forces well, and may be made to flower at Easter by potting it in rich, light soil, placing it in a cold frame till the middle of January, keeping the roots moist, then bringing it into the warm house. It may be propagated by suckers from the roots, by layers, or by cuttings taken in autumn.
Star Flower.—See "Trientalis."
Star of Bethlehem.—See "Ornithogalum."
Statice (Sea Lavender).—The greenhouse and frame varieties succeed best in sandy loam and peat, and may be increased by cuttings placed under a bell-glass or in a warm pit. The hardy herbaceous kinds are very suitable for the front of flower borders, and may be freely increased by seeds or division. The annuals, if sown in March, will produce flowers in July. Statices require a good amount of water, but thorough drainage must be ensured. If the flowers are dried they will keep their colour for a considerable time. Height, 1 ft. to 1-1/2 ft.
Stauntonia Latifolia.—A greenhouse evergreen climbing plant, which needs a peat and loam soil and plenty of room for its roots. It flowers in April, and is increased by cuttings planted in sand under glass, with a gentle heat. Height, 10 ft.
Stenactis (Fleabane).—Showy hardy perennials which make fine bedding plants. They may be grown from seed, which is produced in great quantities, and merely requires the same treatment as other perennials, or they may be propagated by dividing the plants. They bloom in July. Height, 2 ft.
Stephanotis.—This pretty evergreen twining plant is most suitable for the greenhouse, and flourishes in a mixture of loam and leaf-mould. It flowers in May, and is increased by cuttings struck in heat. Height, 10 ft.
Sternbergia Lutea.—A hardy perennial which produces bright yellow flowers in August. It likes a rich soil, and is propagated by off-sets. Height, 6 in.
Stipa Pennata (Feather Grass).—One of the most graceful of our ornamental grasses, and most attractive in the border. The seed may be sown early in March, keeping the ground moist until it has germinated, and it is also increased by division. Height, 2 ft.
Stobæa Purpurea.—A hardy border plant with long spiny foliage, and bearing from July to September large light blue flowers. It requires a light, rich soil. Young cuttings may be struck in sand. Height, 1 ft.
ANNUAL, OR TEN WEEKS' STOCKS.—Sow the seeds in February, March, April, and May for succession; those sown in May will continue to flower till Christmas. The soil should be rich, and occasionally a little manure-water may be given. Another sowing may be made in August and September. When the plants have several leaves pot off singly in vegetable loam and river sand. Height, 1 ft. to 1-1/2 ft.
BROMPTON.—Sow very thinly during the first week in May in a rich, light, sandy border, with an eastern aspect. When 2 or 3 in. high, thin out to 9 in. apart. Those taken out may be re-planted in the flower border, 9 in. from each other. In transplanting reject those plants having a long tap-root: they generally prove to be single. If the following winter be severe they must be protected with mats. Any desirable varieties may be propagated by cuttings, which root readily under glass if kept shaded. Should it be desirable to transplant them to another part of the garden, March or April will be found the best time to remove them. Shade the plants till they are established, and use liquid manure till they begin to flower.
GREENHOUSE OR SHRUBBY species grow best in a mixture of light soil and sand, and cuttings of these Stocks root readily under glass.
NIGHT-SCENTED STOCKS.—See "Mathiola Bicornis." If Emperor, Imperial, or Intermediate Stocks are sown in March or April, they will flower in the autumn; if sown in June or July they will flower during the following June, and throughout the summer and autumn.
Stokesia Cyanea.—A handsome herbaceous perennial which is quite hardy, but owing to the late period at which it flowers its blooms are liable to be cut off by frosts. It is therefore more suitable for a cool house than the open air, unless the warmest and most sheltered position be assigned to it. A rich, sandy soil is indispensable for its growth. It may be increased by dividing the roots in spring. The flowers are produced from October to December. Height, 1-1/2 ft.
Strawberries.—The soil most suitable for the growth of this fruit is a rich, deep, adhesive loam. July or early in August is the best time to make new beds, but if the ground be not then available runners from the old plants may be planted in peat on a north border and lifted with good balls of earth to their permanent bed in the spring. Set them firmly in rows 2 ft. apart and 18 in. from plant to plant. Spread out the roots and avoid deep planting. Remove from the old plants all runners not required for new beds before they take root, as they exhaust the crown. In dry seasons liquid manure is highly beneficial. Some growers give supports to the fruit by means of forked-shaped pegs, while others lay straw down to keep the fruit free from grit. Keep a sharp look-out for snails and slugs. King of the Earlies, Auguste Nicaise, Royal Sovereign, Vicomtesse Héricart de Thury, Gunton Park, President, Sir Joseph Paxton, Lord Suffield, Noble, and Samuel Bradley are excellent sorts. For Ornamental Strawberries, see "Fragaria Indica."
Strawberry Tree.—See "Arbutus."
Streptocarpus (Cape Primrose).—This plant is a greenhouse perennial, showing great variety of colours, from white to violet and crimson, and is of neat habit. A light and rather rich soil or vegetable mould suits it best. Seed sown in February in slight heat will produce plants for flowering in July; that sown in March or April will flower in August and September. Grow slowly in small pots, and in February put them in their flowering pots. Give plenty of air and shade them from the sun. It may also be increased by division, or leaf-cuttings may be taken under a bell-glass. The plants like plenty of water, but need good drainage. Height, 9 in.
Streptosolen Jamesoni.—A good compost for this greenhouse evergreen shrub is two parts sandy loam, one part leaf-mould, and a little silver sand. During growth it needs a liberal supply of water and to be kept near the glass; only a small amount of moisture should be given in winter. In March cut it into shape, and re-pot it as soon as new growth starts. During the summer syringe it frequently to keep off red spider, and during winter maintain a temperature of 55 degrees.
Stylophorum (Celandine Poppy, or Poppywort).—During May and June this hardy and handsome plant produces fine yellow flowers. It accommodates itself to any soil, but prefers a rich, light one, and can be increased by seed sown in autumn or early spring. Height, 1-1/2 ft.
Styrax.—Ornamental shrubs requiring a light soil for their cultivation. S. Japonica has Snowdrop-like flowers, and S. Obasa Lily-of-the-Valley-like scented flowers. They are best propagated by layers. Height, 4 ft. to 10 ft.
Swainsonia Galegifolia Alba.—A graceful and charming cool greenhouse plant, with Fern-like evergreen foliage and pure white flowers, which are borne from April to November. The soil most suitable for it is a mixture of loam and sandy peat. Cuttings of the young growth planted in sand under glass strike readily. Height, 2 ft.
Swallow Wort.—See "Asclepias."
Swamp Lilies.—See "Zephyranthes."
Swan River Daisy.—See "Brachycome."
Sweet Alyssum.—See "Alyssum."
Sweet Flag.—See "Acorus."
Sweet Peas.—See "Peas, Sweet."
Sweet Rocket.—See "Rocket."
Sweet Scabious.—See "Scabious."
Sweet Sultan.—Sweet-scented, Thistle-shaped hardy annual flowers, which are very useful for cutting. They may be raised in any garden soil from seed sown in March or April, and will flower in August. Height, 1-1/2 ft.
Sweet William.—Well-known hardy perennials, and deservedly favorite border plants, which may be grown in any good soil; but to have them to perfection they should be placed in light, loamy ground mixed with a little old manure and sand. They can be raised with little trouble from seed sown thinly at any time between March and midsummer where they are to bloom, and may also be increased by dividing the old plants in spring. They produce their flowers in July. Height, 1-1/2 ft.
Symphoricarpus (Snowberry).—A handsome species of St. Peter's Wort. The shrubs will grow in any ordinary soil, are hardy, and readily propagated by suckers, which are produced abundantly; or cuttings may be taken either in spring or autumn. They bloom in August. Height, 4 ft.
Symphytum Caucasicum.—Hardy perennials. They will grow in any soil or situation, even thriving under the shade of trees, and may be increased by division. June is the month in which they flower. Height, 3 ft.
Syringa (Lilac.)—There are many choice varieties of these favourite shrubs, but any of them may be grown in a tolerably good soil. They are propagated by layers or by suckers from the root. They bloom in May or June. Height varies from 4 ft. to 12 ft.
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