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.
As we go through the country the same half-dozen or dozen kinds may be seen everywhere; the same monotonous planting all through. The planting is evidently the result of an unacquain-tance with the immense variety which the best modern nurseries offer. There could be no more profitable use of time by those intending to plant than a few hours at a first-class nursery.
The Summer in the greater part of the Eastern States has been peculiarly favorable to vegetation. When the seasons are wet or dry the vital powers of the plants are lowered, and they are easily injured, even by moderately severe weather in Winter. It is this which often makes Fall planting seem undesirable. The next Winter, unless unusually severe, will be a very favorable one on vegetation, and those who plant this October and November will no doubt have unusual success. Even plants which have not been transplanted, but are usually regarded as somewhat tender, will probably suffer but little; still, protection of such plants will be in order as usual. It may be as well to remember that keeping off the cold dry winds is often a sufficient protection. Many use evergreen branches, and these are useful if not placed too thickly. In great abundance large quantities of turpentine are pressed out by frost, which injure the plants covered by these pine branches. In like manner fresh manure from stable yards is injurious, by reason of the salt it contains. Many plants are seriously injured in Winter by these injudicious coverings, without the user having the least idea of the cause. Wherever earth can be used, as for instance in the case of small things, there is nothing like it for protection.
Half hardy vines can easily be bent down and lightly covered, and small roses can have the young tops cut back and the earth drawn over them. When large they may be taken up, laid on their sides, and replanted in Spring.
We have already spoken of the value of lilies and other Summer flowering bulbs in gardening,. and that the Fall is the time to replant and care for them. The hardy or Holland bulbs, as they are often called, because mostly imported from Holland, where they are grown extensively and thrive better than in any other country, are almost the only ornament of the garden in very early Spring. Commencing with the little Snowdrop, in this section in March or early April, followed by the Crocus, Hyacinth and Tulip, they make a most interesting succession during the months of April and May, when but for them the garden would be bare enough. In addition to this they are unrivalled for culture in the house during the Winter months. As nearly all can be grown in so many ways - in pots, or baskets of sand or moss, or in vessels of water - they are an almost endless source of interest and amusement in every stage of growth. With a little moss from the woods or swamps, a few quarts of sand, some pots or a shallow box or two, and a few dozen Crocuses, early Tulips, Hyacinths and Narcissus, any one is prepared for a pleasant little Winter garden. Of course, a few Hyacinth glasses are desirable, but not essential.
Very pretty boxes can be made with a little taste and patience, and some sticks and bark from the woods.
In addition to the kinds above named, the Anemone and Ranunculus are beautiful Spring flowers for all who have rotten cow manure to fertilize the ground with, and will give the beds a little protection from the severest weather. We are also very partial to the old Crown Imperial, of which there are now several varieties of red and yellow.
Many kinds of hardy annuals flower much better next Spring, when sown at this season of the year. A warm, rich border should be chosen, and the seed put in at once. Early in Spring they must be transplanted to the desired position in the flower border.
Few things are more valued in Winter than a bunch of Sweet Violets. A few may now be potted, and they will flower in the window towards Spring; or a small bed of them may be made in a frame, which should be protected by a mat from severe frost. To have Pansies flower early and profusely in Spring, they may be planted out in a frame, as recommended for the Violet.
Herbaceous hardy border flowers are often propagated in the Fall by dividing the roots; but, unless it is convenient to protect the newly-made plants through the Winter, it is better to defer this till Spring, as the frost draws out of the ground and destroys many. Where it is now resorted to, a thick mulching of leaves or litter should be placed over the young stock when transplanted.
Chrysanthemums now in flower should have their names and colors rectified, against the time when in Spring they may have to be replanted, when they can be re-arranged with accuracy and satisfaction, according to the owner's taste.
Amongst the pretty effects which we have seen this year, have been several attempts at forming Winter gardens of evergreens. It was suggested in England a few years ago, that the massing system of growing flowers in Summer was objectionable in this, that it left the beds naked through the Winter. To remedy this, they had a reserve garden of evergreens, from which the plants were taken every year after the frost had killed the flowers, and set in the places where the flowers were. This makes the flower garden look green at least during the Summer season. This reserve garden of evergreens is usually put into an out-of-the-way place, and does not look very inviting in the Summer time. In the case we have reference to, the reserve garden had the evergreens set rather wide apart and the spaces between filled with Coleus, Achyranthus, and other colored and variegated leaves. The effect was very pretty indeed.