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 great exhibition of flower gardening at the Centennial Grounds must have taught our people- how beautifully they can adorn their grounds at a trifling expense, and, as thousands on thousands are visiting the Exhibition from all parts of the Union, the result must be favorable to our general horticultural education. There is one feature which we think must strike every visitor. The gardening that is fitting for a quiet stroll on foot should be of a very different character from that along a carriage drive. In the first case we have to keep in view that which looks well in the immediate surroundings, while the distant glimpses are of far more importance in a carriage ride. Another matter one may learn from the Centennial exhibit, is the advantages of studying appropriateness in arrangement. Much of beauty comes from the harmony of relations. As noted in our last the piece of rockwork on exhibition is very well, if it had been where a piece- of rock-work ought to be, but out of place among the many artificial specimens of gardening about it. On the other hand the sunk garden shows admirably from the foot-walks made along the heights above. There is, however, one feature, an accidental one, which affords us a good lesson.
The space for garden work is bounded by a piece of natural forest on one side, and the great conservatory or Horticultural Hall on the other. Next to the conservatory are the brightest flowers, and the best kept beds. The plots devoted to shrubbery come next, and then the natural woods. The beds between the shrubs and the flowers were not taken up by exhibitors, and hence had to Be filled up by the Centennial Commission with something; so shrubs, evergreens, castor oil plants, petunias, and all sorts of things are mixed together, and the effect of introducing the gay flowers to the green leaved shrubbery is beautiful in the extreme. Any one who studies this little incident will have a good lesson for home gardening. Another matter is worthy of thinking about. We see here how few are the plants that can certainly be depended on for summer gardening. We have to make up our flower beds of fewer items than any other people. Half the things common in European flower-beds will not do here, yet we follow too much those plants which have European reputations.
There is little doubt but we have large numbers of things that will not do in Europe, and. which would suit us exactly, and this would not only add largely to our bedding plant variety, but give American gardening a special character of its own. This is especially the season to think of these things, as the stock has to be propagated through the winter, in order to have them ready when spring comes.