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.
With September we think of the bulbs which flower in spring. We have an idea that as soon as the bulbs from beyond the Rocky Mountains come into culture and under improvement, we shall have races that will vie in beauty with those of Europe.
In most of the countries of Europe, summer gardening is the most attractive, and most that is done there is with that view. With us the spring and autumn are more enjoyable, and if American gardening is ever to have a distinctive feature of its own, it will be from efforts specially directed to one or both of these. Our summers are usually hot and dry, and people are either "away," or very much indisposed for out-door enjoyment, except such as may be found in shady woods, or on some heights where the cool breezes blow. At any rate we shall not go wrong by doing our best for good effects with spring flowers, and it is time to think about these things now. There is scarcely anything more beautiful in spring than a bed of Hyacinths and Tulips well intermixed. The Hyacinths go out of flower just as the Tulips come in. In the spring Gladiolus and Tuberoses can be placed between these; or if desirable, some flowering bedding plants. and in this way the gaiety and interest can be preserved from spring to fall. Crown Imperials are capital things for the centre of small beds, and the regular bedding plants can go around them. Narcissuses keep their foliage too long after flowering, as does the Snowdrop. These can hardly be made available where regular bedding is desirable for summer.
They are best in odd patches by themselves. Crocus does well anywhere. It may even be set in the grass about the lawn,as it is generally over before the first mowing takes place. But it would not be admitted into our best kept lawns. The vast tribe of lilies come in rather late for spring gardening, but few will care to be without them. Besides these there are many little items which are noted in almost all bulb catalogues, from which many interesting spring blooms can be had. No one will go amiss in looking well to this class of plants. The best time to plant is from now to frost. Mice and vermin are very liable to attack these roots. Poisoning is the best remedy.
Spring gardening, however, need not be confined to bulbs. There are other spring flowering things.
Shrubs for this kind of gardening we have alluded to, should of course be of free flowering character. Of those which can be made very effective, the following may be used: Pyrus ja-ponica, the red and white; Spiraeaprunifolia, S. Reevesii, S. Billardii; Deutzia gracilis, scabra, and crenata pleno; Weigela rosea and W.amabiliz, Philadelphus cownarius, and • P. Gordonianus; Forsythia viridissima; Hypericum prolificum; Al-theas in variety; Persian, and even the common Lilacs; Tartarian and Fly Honeysuckles; Hawthorns, Double Almonds, and perhaps some others. But all these are common in most nurseries; are very easy to grow, and very pretty effects may be had at a small outlay.
Many persons who have but a few of these plants, will like to raise some more. The end of the month is a good time to take off cuttings, unless the weather be very warm. Of those we have named, all but the Pyrus and Almond will grow by cuttings. These two grow by pieces of roots. Cuttings should be made about four or six inches long, and planted out in rows, and set two or three inches below the surface of the ground. In spring planting we put them right level with the surface.
In many parts of the Northern States the leaves will have changed color previous to the incoming of winter, and the planting of trees and shrubs will commence as soon as the first fall showers shall have cooled the atmosphere and moistened the soil. Further south, where the season will still remain " summer " a while longer, the soil, may, at any rate, be prepared, that all may be in readiness when the right season does come. What leaves remain on should be stripped off, and the main shoots shortened. They will then do better than if planted very late. In fact, if planting cannot be finished before the beginning of November in the Northern and Middle States, it is better, as a rule, deferred till spring. In those States where little frost occurs, this rule will not apply. The roots of plants grow all winter, and a plant set out in the fall has the advantage over spring set trees, that its roots in spring are in a position to supply the tree at once with food. This is, indeed, the theory fall planters rely on; but in practice it is found that severe cold dries up the wood, and the frosts draw out the roots, and thus more than counterbalance any advantage from the pushing of new roots. Very small plants are, therefore, best left till spring for their final planting.
It is, however, an excellent plan to get young things on hand in fall, and bury them entirely with earth, until wanted in spring. Such things make a stronger growth the next season, than if just dug before transplanting.