This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
In no other time of the year are flowers more appreciated than in spring. They attract a good deal of attention in winter, either on the ball dress of young, blushing maidens, or in the reception rooms of large fetes, but seldom are they admired so much as in the opening of the season, when everything revives with new vigor and splendor. As a natural fact the first flowers in our northern climate are either white or yellow, and blue or red ones, with a few exceptions, don't appear before the rays of the sun fall more perpendicularly on our part of the globe. Without exotic plants we would miss those darker colors that make spring so cheerful and pretty. There are still many gardens, however, where one should expect to see more variety of colors in the beginning of May than is as yet the case.
The florist or gardener is anxiously waiting for warmer and more steady weather", for as long as those chilly nights prevail, he don't trust his greenhouse plants out doors. His Geraniums, Verbenas, Coleus, etc., are ready for planting out, but the night frost don't allow their appearance outside the greenhouse, and during all this time the garden looks dreary and desolate. And yet one of the beds in front of the house could show the finest colors and give such a display even hard to attain in midsummer with the choicest specimens.
There is no need to go in for heavy expenses to have a fine display of colors in the beginning of spring - a few dollars worth will answer the purpose. Many a gardener receives in the fall price-lists from seed houses, mentioning Dutch bulbs, without understanding the value those bulbs can have for him. It is true that it cost considerable money to fill a bed of three or four yards in diameter, with first-class Hyacinths, though good bedding Hyacinths can be had at any of the reliable seed stores for a fair price. I know many who got disappointed by buying from the wrong man) but when you deal with a house that imports it's bulbs direct from Holland, you seldom will find fault with them. It is with the bulb peddlers, as with all of them, "cheap, but no good".
Two hundred single early Tulips mixed is sufficient for any good-sized bed, and with a few Narcissus, or a Crown Imperial in the centre, will give full satisfaction. As a rule all bulbs, as Hyacinths, Tulips, Lilies, Crocus, will develop better when planted out-doors than in pots in the greenhouse. It is therefore not necessary to take first quality for bedding purposes, though first size bulbs are very desirable, and come to a perfection of form and color without rival in the greenhouse.
It is possible, also, to make a bed that can last at least two months (from the beginning of April till June), when planted with care and judgment. Crocus, Hyacinths and Tulips don't flower all at once, and with even every kind are early and late varieties. Those bulbs, when planted in a mass together, will flower successively, and such a bed is the gem of your lawn in early spring.
The finest designs can be executed with bulbs and when a flower shows such a brilliancy, and fills the air with such a delicious fragrance we cannot help admiring it, and never tire of seeing it amidst the young green colors of nature's children.