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.
May and June are the hey-day of hardy herbaceous plants, but underneath I mention those only that are in bloom now, July 10th, in the gardens here, and which have been wintered without any protection whatever beyond in some cases a light mulching of leaves. Of course, having confined myself to what are actually growing here, I have omitted several valuable seasonable plants, and at the same time I have carefully avoided mentioning any that are not the very cream of our collection; everything of the "botanical" nature being strictly omitted.
Aquilegia chrysantha, the finest of all known yellow Columbines, and keeps blooming some weeks after the other kinds have ceased.
Campanula rotundifolia, or common Harebell, flowers, blue and pretty, dwarfish, and in the rockery or border equally at home. C. Car-pathica, a very fine species, in compact clumps, blooms blue, widely open, and many. Not yet at its best.
Viola cornuta, blue; in free, rich, moist ground, with a little thinning or cutting, blooms unceasingly from June till October. Much used in Europe as a summer "bedder." Not so apt here.
Dicentra eximia, charming for borders or rock-work; has rosy purple flowers and fern-like leaves; nine to fifteen inches high. Amongst the earliest plants to bloom in spring, and even now is only at its best.
Pentstemon barbatus, a Mexican plant, with long wand-like panicles of drooping scarlet flowers. It needs staking, otherwise it looks ragged. P. argidus, two to four feet, flowers purplish and blue, on long panicled stems that, if not timely tied up, become prostrate. Both fine border plants.
Tradescantia, or Virginian spider-wort, of which there are blue, purple and white kinds, all equally hardy and showy. The white is the scarcest. They are pretty, and will grow almost anywhere, and become naturalized in rough places.
Aconite or Monkshood, blue, and showy border plants, also Delphiniums in variety. Amongst the finest Delphiniums are Belladonna, pale blue; Hendersoni and formosum, deep blue, and nudi-caide, red. They last well as cut flowers.
Saponaria officinalis,-or common soap wort, 18 to 24 inches, with dense panicled bundles of large white or pink-tinged flowers. Showy, and a good border plant. There are variegated-leaved and double-flowered kinds of the same quite as hardy.
Lychnis chalcedonica, two to three feet, with corymbose clusters of scarlet flowers. There are single and double-flowered varieties of this old-fashioned border plant, varying in color from white to scarlet, but scarlet is the best.
Dianthus Seguieri, single pink, 12 to 15 inches; makes a compact and pretty clump, but not so pretty as some of its predecessors.
Funkia ovata, the blue day lily, makes fine clumps for borders or shrubberies; flowers bluish, arranged unilaterally, and freely borne.
Hemerocallis fulva, the common day lily, is suitable for borders, shrubberies, or for naturalization under trees, or in waste places.
Hollyhocks are at their best. Of course we have only single sorts, and for ornamental purposes the intensely colored double sorts are the most appropriate, and quite as hardy.
Yucca filanientosa, a common but noble plant, with tall, tree-like flower, stem laden with yellowish white blooms. I lately saw a pretty effect produced on a sunny slope by having these Yuccas planted some three to four feet apart, and interplanted with low-growing, red-flowered Cannas, banded with white variegated grass.
Antirrhinums, or Snap-dragons, treated as self-sown annuals and transplanted. The dark and intensely colored ones I think the prettiest, though the striped ones are the most sought for.
Callirhoe involucrata, the common Malva; a procumbent and spreading plant, with a profusion of showy crimson flowers. Suitable for rockwork or border.
Malva moschata, vigorous; flowers rosy lilac, and freely borne on tall, branchy stems. Shrubberies and mixed borders if staked.
Betonica grandiflora, a pretty border plant with whorls of purple flowers.
Physostegia Virginica, a purplish labiate with terminal racemes of crowded blooms. Wants lifting, dividing and transplanting every second or third year.
Dracocephalum peregrinum makes a fine border clump, 12 to 18 inches; flowers blue, in loose whorls on arching or decumbent racemes.
Erigeron speciosus, bluish, two feet; handsome as a border clump, or naturalized in wild places. E. glabellus, one foot, flowers pretty, and, like speciosus, a fine border plant.
Coreopsis lanceolata, two to three feet, bearing a profusion of bright yellow flowers; a desirable border plant. C. tripteris, tall and handsome, flowers showy, yellow with dark centre; C. pal-mata and C. delphinifolia, good enough in their way, in roomy borders and amongst shrubs, but too rough for the select border.
Lathyrus latifolius, the everlasting pea, of which there are pinkish-purple and white-flowered kinds; particularly pretty, and keeping in bloom a long time. The white kind is very fine. In clumps, on supports, or depending over rock work they are very appropriate.
Spireea venusta, a handsome and very fine perennial, with rosy-carmine flowers in terminal compound cymes; two to three feet high. Also S. Kamtschatica, pretty white flowers, in the way of S. ulmaria which is also in bloom, and Astilbe chinensis, two feet, with panicled clusters of pinkish flowers; fine.
Lythrum salicaria or Loosestrife, two to five feet; flowers reddish-purple and in whorls on long terminal spikes. A handsome and desirable plant for borders or water margins. The variety known as Roseum superbxvm is the best.
In addition to the above are many Salvias, Scutellarias, Nepetas, Veronicas, Lychnises, Asters, Achilleas (A. millefolium roseum is the best), Chrysanthemums, Anthemises, Centaureas, Convolvuluses, etc.
Chief amongst shrubs in bloom are Spiraea Douglasi with dense terminal panicles of rosy-pink flowers; S. Menziesii, not unlike Douglasi; S. callosa, with thick terminal corymbs of pinkish blooms; S. salicifolia, the American Meadow Sweet, dull white, in crowded panicles; and S. corymbosa, with showy flat compound corymbs of white flowers. There are likewise Itea Virginica, with racemes of pretty white flowers; double Deutzias, Hydrangea arborescens, radiaia and hortensis, the Smoke tree Rhus cotinus.
Calycanthus floridus, or Sweet Shrub, locally known here as Pine-apple Shrub; and, Rubus odoratus, a free-bloming shrub, good enough for rough places, but not sufficiently attractive for choice shrubberries.