In selecting for the garden, it should be borne in mind that many of the new varieties of flowers, of recent introduction trumpeted forth, in advertisements and catalogues, as being "exquisite, superb, unsurpassed," etc., are, many of them, greatly inferior to the old and highly esteemed varieties of the old-fashioned gardens. These time-honored denizens of the flower-garden should not be discarded as antiquated and out of fashion. My opinion is fully expressed in the following article from the Gardener's Chronicle :"Among the many follies which the gardening world commits, none is more striking to the looker-on, than the eagerness with which old favorites are deserted for new ones. Of all inconstant lovers, gardeners must surely be the most incon stant. To-day they are at the feet of a Dahlia; to-morrow there is no beauty like a Pansy, and both are presently deserted for a Cineraria. In their eyes, old age is a crime, and aged flowers are mercilessly consigned to the poor-house. We remember when Cape plants were the rage; a Brunsvigia, or an Ixia, or a Protea, were standing toasts; to possess such fair objects was the height of man's ambition. But in a few years these were thrown aside, and New Holland beauties supplanted them; to be succeeded by the flaunting, or shy and delicate, natives of South America. If we look to an old garden catalogue, we can but wonder how the flower-garden was decorated by our fathers; for there we find little besides races now known only by name.
"Marigolds and Candytufts, Love-lies-bleeding, Globes and Balsams, Catchflies and Cockscombs, Daisies and Dittany, Persicarias and Prince's Feather, Lupins, Tricolors and Marvels of Peru, Sunflowers and Sweet Sultans, - pride of the eighteenth century, - ye have all fallen victims to the flickering meteor called taste; and are now only to be found in the old drawers of old seed-shops, where you are but the curiosities of floriculture; or in remote country gardens, not yet reached by steam or electricity. Even in acknowledging an acquaintance with Hollyhocks and China Asters, we do so under a feeling of something like shame at being known to keep such doubtful company.
"Are these follies to have an end ? Shall we never be wise enough to look upon all flowers as equal ? Do we not yet know that what is called the difference in their attractions, is but a difference in our skill in managing them; and that they are all endowed with wondrous beauty, varying in kind, but the same in nature ? Most especially must we inquire whether the arts of the cultivator should be limited, as they are, to the domestication of a few fashionable races, to the entire neglect of the ancient inhabitants of the flower-garden ? A Hollyhock is as showy as a Dahlia, infinitely more graceful, much easier to cultivate, as prone to run into varieties, and hardy instead of tender; yet the lumpish Dahlia is seen everywhere; societies are formed to admire it and to gamble in it; and the Hollyhock is consigned to a few places, where, as at Shrubland, refined taste still excludes fashionable vulgarity. The Amaranths are a race peculiarly suited for rich autumnal decoration, - quick-growing, many-sized, and long-enduring, - no doubt susceptible of further change; but they are abandoned for the sake of Petumias and Chrysanthemums. Surely it would be wiser to try to improve those ancient races, which are so well suited to our climate and our purses, than to limit our skill to tampering with theconstitutions of the delicate, though brilliant, strangers that have taken such entire possession of our affections.
"Let no man say that they are incapable of improvement. Who has tried the experiment ? Who has tried to cross the Prince's Feather with the Cockscomb ? or Love-lies-bleeding with the Tricolor ? or the Bee with the Dwarf Larkspur ? or the Persicaria with the straggling Buckwheat, (Polygonum divaricatum) ? or the Indian Pink with the Carnation ? or the Marigold with the Coreopsis ? Until these trials have been made, with at least as much care as has been shown in managing the Calclolaria, or the Pansy, we must be permitted to say that our ancient friends are unfairly treated, and that we are doing ourselves much disservice."
We shall be told that experiments of the class suggested are hopeless. We believe them to be likely to lead to highly important consequences, expecially in those cases where the result of success would be to improve a perennial by the aid of an annual; a very material consideration.
Plants should be chosen that will give a succession of flowers from the early part of the spring till the winter closes the flowering season. In this work we hope we have so described the various plants, that almost any person of taste may be enabled to select such as may be deemed proper to effect this object. Those persons who can, conveniently, visit nurseries and gardens during the season, will select more accurately by noticing the plants when in bloom, as their true character and portrait can be seen, and appreciated, far better than from any description that can be given.