This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V22", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
"A Lady" writes to the Gardener's Chronicle: "For 1 think the love of flowers and of gardening grows with advancing age and inability to garden, and the same lady who as a girl thought it a great nuisance to have to cut off the dead Roses, or weed a flower-bed, will be glad enough to do it in her old age, and only long to be able to do more than her failing strength will admit of her attempting.
" An old lady naturally cares most for old-fashioned flowers; for, after all, the greatest charm flowers possess to the old is their association with bygone days. What charm can a bed of Pelargoniums boast that will compare with that of a root of Starch Hyacinth, if the latter grew in a corner of the kitchen garden of her father's parsonage? Or what cares she for the latest sport of a Chinese Primrose in comparison with the double lilac Primroses for which she used to hunt in the shrubbery in the early spring days of her childhood? So she tries to fill her garden with flowers which, to her, are living memories of her youth, and perhaps tries in vain to get the gardener to respect plants which he regards little better than rubbish. Many ladies will treasure for life some old-fashioned flower which is directly descended from an individual plant that belonged to a mother or sister long since departed; and the loss of a treasure of this kind, through the carelessness of a man hired for the day, is mourned almost as if it were a renewal of their original loss.
'"Some ladies, stronger in mind and body than the generality of their sex, try to avoid all these dangers by dispensing altogether with the gardener. I know one instance in which an elderly lady, with the assistance of her maid, does all the work of her garden, even including the mowing of her grass plot; and the consequence is that her little garden abounds with charming old-fashioned flowers that her fond hands have protected since the days when they were commoner than at present. Her garden is bounded on one side by an old wall, from every crevice of which spring lovely little Ferns, which she assured me were self-sown. It seemed as though they knew where to find protection from their natural enemies, the Fern-hawkers, just as wild birds will come and build in any garden where nest-taking is absolutely prohibited.
"But instances like these are rare; and in spite of the present agitation in favor of teaching ladies to garden,Idoubt whether the professional gardener will ever suffer much from female competition. I can but advise all ladies who care for their flowers to supervise the hired gardeners whom they are obliged to employ occasionally, and never to let their gardens be put in order while they are from home".