This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V18", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The following comprises the cream of the hardy herbaceous plants in bloom here at the Botanic Gardens on August 19th, "botanical" plants being strictly omitted. Some of our best reckoned-to-be hardy plants that were wintered in frames raised from seeds last spring or otherwise obtained and transplanted out-of-doors here this year, and that are now in "season," I have not mentioned, having only referred to those unquestionably hardy, in so far, that they survived unscathed our last winter. Many plants, too, that have bloomed earlier, are owing to timely cutting over and the late rains, coming quite prettily into flower again, such as Delphiniums, Coreopsis lanceolata and many Labiates. Antirrhinums are still as gaudy as Petunias, and of the pretty little Dicentra eximia some plants in leaf and flower are now better than ever, whereas others in the same border are done for a season.
It is not on our altogether-hardy plants, however, that we are too look for a show at this season, when we have annuals of every color, amongst which as blues Wahlenbergia gracilis and Browallia viscosa are particularly floriferous, fresh, lasting, and handsome; also, the mass of everybody's plants as Dahlias, Daturas (D. me-teloides especially), Cannas, Caladium esculen-tum, Gladioli, Tigridias, Salvias, Verbena venosa, Marvel of Peru, Coral Plants, Century Plants, and many others that may be wintered in a dry cellar and transplanted thence to the open ground on the approach of summer. Besides, our gardens are all aglow with Morning Glories, Man-of-the-Earth Creepers, Cypress Vines, Calystegias, Wild Balsam-Apple Vines and Clematises, that need neither protection nor care beyond thinning and training.
Phlox paniculata and vars., perhaps the finest plant of the season. From two to four feet high, of every shade of color, from the purest white to the deepest red, and thrives almost anywhere but in bogs - in the field or the garden. Considering the great perfection of some of the improved varieties now in cultivation, surely amateurs generally might give them place to the old purple. They propagate easily by dividing the old stools just as they begin to grow, when a little leaf-soil or light, rich earth helps them greatly.
P. Drummondii, a Texas annual and a perpetual bloomer. Sown in the open ground towards the end of May or raised under glass and transplanted thence it thrives equally well. In the South it self-sows itself. It is hard to fix the true species, colors, as I have seen as many varieties of it growing wild in Texas as I ever saw cultivated in Northern or European gardens. The Texans are fond of the brilliantly colored and variegated-flowered kinds which they permit a place in their yards, but the others they ruthlessly chop out.
Liliuvi speciosum, a Japanese lily, from two to four feet high, often grown in pots, but perfectly hardy. The flowers are rosy-white, spotted with purplish red, from three to twelve on a stem, and sweet-scented. Amongst dwarf shrubs, in the borders or choicest flower-beds it is equally applicable and deserving. On Craigie street, close by, is an old neglected garden round a "house to let" with a large bed of these lilies all ablaze amongst the weeds, a splendid sight.
Funkia subcordata, the White Day Lily is now in its hey-day. It has long, funnel-shaped, pure white, fragrant flowers, and large, pale green leaves. It likes a free, well-drained soil.
F. ovata albo-marginata, somewhat like a medium-sized blue day lily, but blooms later.
Lobelia cardinalis, a most beautiful late-blooming native perennial, some two feet high, in erect racemes of brilliant red flowers. Our plants are in a very damp, shady spot, where they do well, but they would also thrive in an ordinary moist border. They are best divided and replanted every year.
L. syphilitica, also a native, nearly as tall as L. cardinalis, blue-flowered, on a leafy raceme. Requires treatment like the preceding.
Aquilcgia chrysantha, that best of all of Columbines - the Rocky Mountain Yellow, is still in bloom. Some of the old plants are densely flowered and well-leaved, whilst others are sparsely bloomed and shabbily foliaged. This year's plants and those early cut back are good and fresh.
Euphorbia marginata, a western annual two to three feet high and very showY.. The leaves are margined with white, and those crowded amongst the flower-cups are very broadly white, and the corolla-like appendages are purely white. It seeds freely and grows so readily from seeds that it self-sows itself.
E. corollata, a perennial and a little dwarfer than the preceding, also a native. The leaves are linear and green and the flowers in corymbose umbels are surrounded with five pure white corolla-like appendages. A very showy plant.
Campanulas are past their best, still C. Carpathi-ca is very fine; C. rotundifolia moderately good; C. rapunculoides blooming wherever it can get a chance to exist - as a weed anywhere; and the C. persicrefolia, blue and white, that were transplanted last spring. In reference to C. Carpa-thica, Mr. Patterson, of Watertown, tells me that it is one of the best pot plants for conservatories in early spring, he having grown it for that purpose for many years.
Statices, - S. latifolia, the great sea lavender, from twenty to thirty inches high, in tall, broad panicles of greyish-blue flowers, arising from a rosette of deep green leaves; S. incana, the hoary sea lavender with broad corymbose panicles of red and grey flowers; and S. Limonium var. Carolinianum about fifteen to eighteen inches high, with blue flowers; are now very fine. The Statices are worthy of a choice position and like a light, well-drained soil.
Trauvetteria palmata, a ranunculaceous plant, the only species, a native of the United States and Japan,and has white flowers somewhat like a Tha-lictrum on a loosely corymbose cyme. It grows from 2 to 3 feet high, has large palmate root-leaves,and smaller ones on the flower stem. It is as hardy as a columbine-and a persistent grower.
Tradescantia pilosa, a species with somewhat short lanceolate acuminate and pubescent leaves and blue flowers, about the same size as, and blooming later, than T. Virginica, which is still more or less in flower.
Pentstemon argutus, has reclining stems from two to three feet long, with a wealth of purplish flowers now in full beauty.
Reseda Durieuana, a hardy biennial or perennial, from North Africa, that blooms all summer, but not to be compared to our annual Sweet Mignonette.
Lysimachia clethroides, one of the best of the genus, from eighteen to twenty-four inches high, with terminal racemes of densely-set small, white flowers. It grows thriftily, blooms freely, lasting a long time; is very hardy, and propagates readily by division.
Polygonum cuspidatum, a noble plant, better fitted for isolated specimens and sub-tropical gardens than anywhere else. It is eight feet high with arching branch-like stems and a profusion of slender axillary clusters of white flowers. It dies down in the fall and comes up in spring like stalks of giant asparagus; indeed, the English gardening journals suggest its use as asparagus.
The composites are now quite showy, but the bulk of them are too tall and coarse for general use other than amongst shrubs, in large borders, or out-of-the-way places. Certainly the asters deserve a conspicuous position; A. corymbosus, macrophyllus, patens, prenanthoides, adscendens and comixtus are now in bloom. Amongst the other genera of this family are Silphium, Coreopsis, Golden Rods, Vernonias, Echinops, Cnicus, Centaureas, Rudbeckias, Eupatoriums, etc, now at their best. The Labiates, too, continue to furnish many flowers such as Monardas, Nepetas, Lopan-thuses, Scutellarias, Pycnanthemums and Salvias.
Amongst shrubs the Altheas take the lead, single and double, and of every tint from white to red. Hydragea paniculata, with its dense panicles of whitish flowers, is very showy; and the Kerrias, single and double, are blooming more, or less. Neviusia Alabamensis has pretty white flowers in terminal peduncles, and its near relative, Rhodotypus kerrioides, is also well furnished with large white flowers at the ends of its arching branches. The Oxydendrum arboreum or sorrel-tree is just going out of bloom as are likewise the Clethra salnifolia and acuminata, both native, still beautiful shrubs. Vitex incisa, or the cut-leaved chaste tree, is still shrouded with its lavender-colored flowers, which, together with digitate sub-pinnatified and fragrant leaves constitute a pretty ornament. The Vitex is cut down considerably by our winters. The shrubby Cin-quefoil (Potentilla fruticosa) with silky leaves and showy yellow flowers, and the Hypericum pyra-midatum, another yellow-bloomed plant also in flower.