BOWL GARDENS

If you desire an interesting and fascinating diversion, plant a bowl garden with succulent plants When you build such a garden, you may be sure tha no one else has one just like it, for it provides you with an opportunity to express your artistic taste.

It is possible to achieve so many different lay-outs that it is neither practical nor desirable to give in detail possible arrangements. It is much better to indicate those general principles which must be followed to ensure success, and leave all the details of obtaining the artistic effect to the creative imagination of the individual.

A harmonious arrangement of plants and rocks can have an artistic appeal and give satisfaction and pleasure to the owner.

The containers may be bowls of any shape and size, with or without drainage hole, glazed or porous, and should be at least 3 inches to 3^ inches deep, according to the size. This depth will allow for adequate drainage. A decorative piece of pottery adds charm and beauty to an arrangement, or you may decide to select a bowl of neutral colour. Materials for your work consist of broken crocks or brick for drainage, a suitable compost in which to grow the plants, pieces of charcoal to keep the soil from souring, sharp sand, and very small gravel or chippings to dress the top of the bowl. Miniature bridges, mirror lakes or houses may be used for scenic effects.

Place the materials on a table so that everything is handy. If the bowl has a drainage hole, cover this with a piece of broken flower-pot placed archwise over the hole, and fill to nearly half-way up with crocks, broken down to very small pieces, and a few pieces of charcoal, and add the soil mixture.

With the container filled, temporarily place the plants on top so as to acquire some idea of artistic composition, then remove the plants and start planting according to your scheme of arrangement. If a few pieces of rock, such as tufa, limestone, or sandstone, are placed amongst the plants, the general effect is all the more pleasing.

It may be desired to arrange the compost and rocks so as to give the appearance of a little hillside, and in bowl gardens of this nature the general rule is to place the larger pieces of rock at the base of the incline, which will naturally bring them into the foreground. This gives the impression of a heavier and more substantial foundation.

When the plants and rocks are in position, thinly cover the soil with sand, very small gravel, or chip-pings. This will give the bowl garden a finished appearance.

It is wise not to water the succulent plants immediately after planting, but delay watering for a few days, in case any damage has been caused to the roots during planting.

Always keep a bowl garden in the sunniest window of the house. Light is essential for succulent plants. In poorly lighted places chlorophyll cannot be produced, and death from starvation is inevitable.

Every week, turn the bowl so as to keep the plants growing reasonably straight, as they will always tend to grow towards the light.

If a non-porous bowl without a drainage hole is used, great care must be exercised in watering. Excess water cannot get away except by evaporation through the soil, and if the plants are overwatered, excess water may be lodging in the bottom of the bowl, which in time would cause souring of the soil

When watering the bowl, remember to water well and allow the soil to dry out before giving more; this drying out applies not only to the top layer of soil but to the bottom layer as well. Watering will take place more frequently in hot summer weather. In winter, watering will be less frequent; at this season, if the bowl is kept in a heated room, water may be required every two or three weeks; in an unheated room, when frost is not about, once in every five to six weeks.

Many varieties of interesting succulent plants are available for use in bowl gardens, and the following may be noted:

Opuntia microdasys, O. leptocaulis, Echinocactus Grusonii , Ferocactus Wislizenii , Rebutia Fiebrigii, R. minuscula, R. pygmaea, R. rubispina, R. deminuta, Mammillaria elongata, M. bombycina, M. celsiana, M. bocasana, M. pusilla, M. prolifera, Chamaecereus Silvestrii, Crassula Cooperi, C. socialis, C. tetragona, C. quadrangularis, C. pyramidalis, C. argentea, Aeonium Simsii, A. Lindleyi, A. Haworthii, Echeveria Derenbergii, E. carnicolor, E.farinosa, E. leucotricha, E. pulvinata, E. setosa, Oscidaria deltoides, Delosperma echinatum, Sedum Treleasei, S. Adolphii, S. pachyphyllum, S. Stahlii, Haworthia tessellata, H. fasciata, H. margaritifera, Senecio articulata (sometimes referred to as Kleinia articulata).

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