This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V20", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
Figure 3 represents what we may call"regular flower-beds." Should lie 3 to 5 feet from the walks, and there might be a continuance of these on both sides of a straight walk, with every other to be a circle, or either circle or the rounded parallelograms may be placed singly wherever a flower-bed is desired. It is not necessary, as in the old German style, that flower-beds of same shape, etc., must lay opposite each other. The circle 2 is supposed to be ten feet in diameter, and will do first-rate for solid beds of Coleus (strictly only one variety), tri-colored Geraniums and Achyranthus. The Coleuses should be trimmed all the time, or they will not stand the Fall wind and rain. My practice is to take one joint above another from time to time, and to keep the beds in about the same convexed shape as the soil of the bed represents when raked; and the same with the Achyranthus. The tri-colored Geraniums, though beautiful some of them are seem to defy our endeavor to make anything solid of them, from the fact that their growth during the hot season is so very feeble; but let us modify this defect by planting something between them, such as Viola cornuta or Verbena Annie.
For the parallelograms, 1, 1, 7x15, we have in the first place the Geraniums, but do not take pride in having many varieties. If there are-fifty beds to be filled with only Geraniums, it is-better to have four kinds of the choicest than a score not fit for bedding. General Grant is the best as a bright scarlet, being moderate in growth, and giving abundant flowers through the season, if due attention be paid to watering and cutting away of the seeds. Then there is Lucius, orange scarlet; Master Christine, pink and, white, and Princess, white. With the exception of Asa Gray and a couple of others, there is-hardly any double Geranium that does tolerably for bedding. Other plants for these beds are Shrubby Calceolarias, Salvias, Begonias, Helio-tropes, and Vinca alba and rosea. In some places it is the custom to border these plants with one or two ribbon plants, but let us keep> them for the ribbon beds, and use one kind for each; it will make them look larger.
Roses, Dahlias and Gladioluses may be planted on beds of any shape 5 to 10 feet from the walks; but my experience here (pn the 37th latitude) makes me suggest that we in the South had better plant every other row or circle on the Gladiolus beds a month or so later than the first set, in order to prolong the time of blooming, or that will be over too soon, and make the bed an empty spot on the ground.