ASK THE GARDENERS. Questions & Answers.
Q I enjoy reading your questions and answers even though I no longer have a garden. I especially loved my annual flower beds. It has been necessary for me to move to an apartment, but I do have large sunny windows. Would it be possible to grow some annual flowers? Fortunately I can open the windows for ventilation most of the summer. A special joy would be to have a few cut flowers to make little bouquets for friends. B. H. Barrington, Ill. There are some dandy annuals that can be grown in large pots or boxes on windowsills or plant stands. There are many that can be grown any time of the year. In our work with schoolchildren we have found the following do very well: asters, plume varieties of celosia, coleus, marigolds, zinnias, gomphrena, and geraniums from seeds. All make good cut flowers. For house growing, avoid the huge-bloomed, tall varieties of any annual. For hanging pots, grow petunias, nasturtiums, and mimulus (monkey flower). Begonias and impatiens do well out of the sun. The hanging pots provide cut flowers for small bouquets and pruning stimulates branching. Q While visiting my cousin in California I took come cuttings from her Chinese gooseberry vine. She said she had started it from seeds of some fruit she purchased at the supermarket. It has grown huge and blooms, but she gets no fruit. My cuttings rooted and the vine is growing well in a pot with a trellis. I have two questions. Is the vine hardy enough to grow outdoors in Indiana, and how could I get it to bear fruit? K. M. Elkhart, Ind.
Chinese gooseberry, or kiwiberry (Actinidia chinensis), would not be hardy for your area. The vine will get very rank and would be best grown in a greenhouse. You will need both male and female vines to produce fruit. There is a hardy Actinidia (A. arguta) called Bower Actinidia, which will tolerate temperatures as low as minus 25 degrees F. Greenish-yellow fruits are smaller (about an inch wide), but plants are quite prolific. As with all Actinidia, it is dioecious (di-ee'-shus), requiring a male and female vine for fruiting. Some nurserymen around the country will soon be offering varieties of this one. Q A year or so ago you mentioned a book which had interesting stories about plants now common to the United States that have originated elsewhere. I am interested in knowing where cucumbers were first found. Could you please mention the name of the book and the publisher? C. P. Lewiston, Idaho
The book is ``Green Immigrants, the Plants That Transformed America,'' by Claire Shaver Haughton (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich). The author tells us: ``Cucumbers are native to India and Egypt. . . . travelers in desert caravans carried cucumbers with them. The green skins efficiently protected the cool, fresh liquid within, which could assuage thirst; the flesh provided a refreshing food. . . .'' Q Quite some time ago you mentioned Avant Gardener (a horticultural publication) when answering a question about geraniums. You gave the address of the International Geranium Society, but you neglected to give the address of Avant Gardener. You said this publication has a list of plant societies which it offers to its subscribers. L. P. Long Island City, N.Y.
We apologize for the omission. The publishers are Tom and Betty Powell. Avant Gardener's address is: Horticultural Data Processors, Box 489, New York, N.Y. 10028.
If you have a question about your garden, inside or out, send it to the Garden Page, The Christian Science Monitor, One Norway Street, Boston, Mass. 02115. Doc and Katy Abraham are nationally known horticulturists.