Anybody can have four crops of hardy flowers in every flower bed, and I think most of us ought to be satisfied with that, provided the foliage does not become shabby. For instance, let the main feature be peonies. Between these plant bulbs of Lilium spe.c-iosum. Edge the bed with trailing myrtle. Then under this plant tulips. Thus you will get a small show of tulips in May, a good display of peonies in June, scattering flowers from the myrtle all spring and summer, and a fair show of lilies in September. This bed may last ten or even twenty years without radical change. You avoid all the expense and ugliness of annual digging. You have perfect foliage in peonies and myrtle, and the deficiencies of any lilies you may plant will be hidden. For most lilies are thin or stiff in foliage effects, and are hard to arrange effectively, but here they have a good background.

Dozens of good combinations like the one given above can be made from the plants mentioned in this article, with the help of these four rules:

1. Try for an early and a late spring, a summer, and an autumn flower. Simultaneous effects are appropriate in the border, but for a bed, successive effects are better.

2. Select first the centre piece, preferably a low shrub or a perennial that grows two or three feet high.

3. Next choose the filler for the centre piece, preferably a bulb.

4. Then select a carpeting plant for the edging, making sure that it has perfect foliage. If the centre piece is bare or shabby at the base, choose an edger high enough to screen this fault. You can have a different kind of bulb under the edging.