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.
Few of our native spring flowers come earlier to gladden the earth with their fragrant presence, than the delicate wax-like Epigsea, or Trailing Arbutus. Its leaves are heart-shaped and evergreen, but the color is so dingy, and the texture so rough that no one is prepared for the clusters of rose-colored flowers that lend such a peculiar charm to the plant, and change it from a rough coarse trailer, to the most exquisitely refined beauty. I have seen its flowers of the purest white, when growing near the water, but generally they are rose-tinted.
We have several varieties of the wild violet]; first the swamp violet with its shining smooth green leaves and vivid blue flower, veined with a deeper shade. Next comes the common little wood violet, with its hairy dark green leaf, and deep blue flower delicately veined with white, brightening the sheltered spots and scattered here and there through the brown leaves. But the most beautiful of our native violets is the bird-foot, with its light green leaves three to five cleft,and large handsome flowers, one broad pale or deep lilac purple or blue, the two upper petals sometimes almost a royal purple, and velvety like a pansy. These are found in light sandy soil growing in large masses, the pale blue more abundant than the pansy flowered violet, and occasionally a white one, with a dash of blue through it. See this mass of shaded color, with the sunlight glancing on their porcelain-like petals, and making the dew drops sparkle over them, and the scene is almost too dazzling for the eye to rest upon.
Passing from the sunny hill-side to one sheltered by pines, here we find a new contrast of color. Nestling in the glossy-brown pine needles, are clusters of wild pinks, shaded from the brightest rose color to the pale flesh-colored variety. Their leaves are covered with a gummy substance, which makes it unpleasant to handle them, but the flowers are very pretty and bright.