4 JULY 1931, Page 19


At the suggestion of a famous gardener, I have tried this year the experiment of a bed of mixed annuals, with results that are at least interesting. The best seedsmen now breed plants with such accuracy that you may be almost as sure of the altitude as the shape and colour of the flower. You may get a dozen species and varieties and more that will carry their flowers very much at the same height ; and to my taste such a bed of mingled forms and tints is a great relief from beds of one flower only or of flowers in rows. I do not deny the artistic rightness and charm of massing one tort of flower ; but such a hotch-potch has a quaint charm that will appeal to the less formal artist. The mixing is a failure unless the question of height is made paramount ; and the semi-dwarf group is best for a mixed bed. In the mixture should be the small garden forms of the wild woodruff (a charming blue) and pink campion, of red flax, nemophile, phaeelia, eschscholtzia, gypsophila and a many more, all of semi-dwarf habit. Even for those who adjudge it bad taste to enjoy mixtures of colours, such a bed is at the worst interesting. As Professor Raleigh said of Hardy's poems, "I like my poetry good ; and if I can't get it good I like it rum." The bed of mixed dwarf annuals is perhaps rum, though for myself I should class it also as good, in spite of the prevailing taste for uniformity.