This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V21", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
With March almost any flower seeds may be sown. Choose a time when the surface is a little dry, and the earth will powder under a slight blow. Sow the seeds shallow, barely covering them, but beating the dryish earth firmly after.
Divide herbaceous plants when required; this work cannot be done too early. If delayed till after the plants have grown into leaf, the flowering will be very weak.
Plant trees and shrubs as soon as the earth is a little dry. Ram the earth tightly about the roots. Few do this work well, and more trees die from loosely filled in earth than from any other cause. Trees never need water at transplanting if the earth is rammed in tight enough. If the roots have been injured in digging, or the branches or roots are somewhat dry, prune the branches accordingly. Fibrous rooted trees suffer more from drying than those with a few coarse roots.
In laying out new places of small extent, be careful of aping "principles of landscape gardening" that are only applicable to places of large extent. Remember that everything we do should have a meaning, and that this meaning as often depends on the time and circumstances as on any real existence in the principles themselves. It will be a failure to attempt to make a two hund red feet square lot look like a "country place." It is better to make the gardening border a little on the artificial. In this, terraces, vases, and architectural objects will afford much assistance; and neatness, polish, and finish generally, be more pleasing than the sober negligence that should characterize a more quiet and extensive natural scene.
Shrubs are not near enough employed in planting small places. By a judicious selection, a place may be had in a blooming state all the year; and they, besides, give it a greater interest by their variety than is obtained by the too frequent error of filling it up with but two or three forest trees of gigantic growth. Plant thickly at first, to give the place a finished appearance, and thin out as they grow older. Masses of shrubs have a fine effect on a small place. The centre of such masses should be filled with evergreen shrubs, to prevent a too naked appearance in the winter season.
Ornamental hedges judiciously introduced into a small place, add greatly to its interest. No easier method offers whereby to make two acres of garden out of one in the surveyor's draught. The Arbor Vitae?, Chinese and American, Hemlock, Holly, Beech, Hornbeam, Pyrus japonica, Privet, and Buckthorn may be applied to this purpose.
It is well to again remind the reader of what we said last month, not to lay out too much work for the year, but to see that what is planned is executed tastefully and well. The true art of gardening does not consist so much of having everything on one's ground as in the combinations. One thing should be made to help the other. The garden should not be merely a collection of all sorts of things like a museum, but the collections should form one delightful garden. Even plants that are weeds in some situations can be made very effective in the make up of a garden.