This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Much advantage may be derived from assisting to fertilise this beautiful flower; a greater quantity of seed will be obtained, and many plants that would not otherwise produce seed will be rendered fruitful. There can be little doubt that rapid strides towards improvement will be the result, if the practice of assisting the fertilisation of these plants be persevered in, and a little care observed in selecting those varieties that, from their general character, offer the best prospect of success, and crossing them with each other as fancy or study may dictate. A good Auricula at the present day, whether it be a green-edge, grey-edge, white-edge, or self-colour, has its share of admirers; and such is the sportive character of this flower, that it is certain the seed from either class named will produce the four varieties. The field of improvement is a wide one; and by well-directed assistance rendered to nature, perfection may be arrived at earlier than by leaving her to her own course. The mode by which artificial fertilisation is accomplished may, however, not be known to some; and therefore in an early Number I may again refer to this interesting subject.
Peckham. J. T. Neville.
"Descend, sweet April, from yon watery bow,
And, liberal, strew the ground with budding flowers,
With leafless crocus, leaf-veil'd violet,
Auricula with powdered cup, primrose
That loves to lurk below the hawthorn shade".
In this month every gardener should take an exact survey of the extent of ground which has to be filled with summer flowers; and decide on the number and varieties of plants to be appropriated to every border and bed. There is certainly something very pleasing in a wild mixture of natural productions; but this can be seen to perfection only in hedgerows, where Nature herself is the presiding genius, and is able to maintain a beautiful harmony even in confusion. A flower-garden is the work of art; and artificial arrangements are necessary, to make it attractive, and develop all its resources. Forethought thus becomes indispensable, if we wish to give that grace to our floral domains, which may be undefinable and nameless as a whole, yet is derived from a series of obvious and well-ascertained particulars.
Generally, it is best for beds to be filled with one kind of flower, as many varieties being introduced, as their different colours and the size of the bed will allow. Verbenas, Petunias, Fuchsias, Roses, etc. have a far better effect when in separate masses than in combination; besides the advantage of being able to adapt the soil and treatment to the habit of each species. Miscellaneous plants, herbaceous and annual, are more fitted for borders, the edges of shrubberies, etc, and in such situations produce a pleasing effect. Care must be taken not to plant these too close; a common fault in gardens. In beds or borders of miscellaneous plants, the rake should be easily admissible between each. Pay attention to the combinations of colours, as some harmonise together better than others. Ladies will read all the directions they require on this subject in the rainbow, which is so often seen in April - in our ideal or poetic April, at all events. The subject is treated of in books; but no where more tastefully, naturally, or scientifically, than in the delicate leaves of Iris. The colours which approximate best together are there depicted with unmistakeable clearness.
We hope all our fair readers will be extensive patronesses of the Rose this year; that they will grow it in the best manner, and secure flowers from May to November. This will be the month to make purchases of this favourite in pots; which mode of growth allows of the plants being removed without suffering a check. Budding Roses is a very pretty art, and easily learned; but the brier is rather too rough a subject for delicate hands. Stocks of the Boursault will be more appropriate. Unless for experiment, however, it is scarcely worth while for ladies to interfere with these manipulations, as plants may be procured at the nurseries so cheaply.
As a concluding piece of advice, do not let fine April days play with you the game for which the month is celebrated. We speak from experience, having been tempted sometimes to trust tender plants to Dan Phoebus, only to find we had thrown them into the iron embrace of Jack Frost.
The Bury, Luton. Henry Burgess.