GENTIAN

P. For the alpine and rock garden the beautiful little gentians seem almost indispensable, and though the dwarf kinds which are those most suitable for the rock garden and edging are less easily grown than the very few taller species, they need but little care to establish them in healthy tufts. They must not be overshadowed by taller plants; fresh air and sunlight are essential to their welfare and they must be very firmly planted. Gentiana verna likes a soil of sandy loam but cannot endure much drought, and will benefit, therefore, from a few pieces of broken limestone so placed as to retard evaporation. Sino-ornata bears brilliant blue trumpets from September to November. It detests lime and must have a cool, deep soil enriched with peat, compost etc. Septemfida flowers from mid-summer and lagodechiana rather later. The spring- flowering acaulis is unreliable, growing lustily and flowering freely in some gardens, in others growing lustily but with few if any blooms.

G. asclepiadea (the willow gentian) prefers a moist soil and some shade. It bears bluish-purple flowers on 18 in. stems in July. G. lutea is yellow to about 3 ft. and blooms in spring. Gentians are mostly increased by division in spring.

In early spring growing gentians are nervous of wind; to counteract, fill all round patch with leaf mould and crushed egg-shell grit, well worked in and firmed, leaving shoots only visible. They will respond readily and be good specimens by May.

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