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.
Stands of flowers may be used to advantage in some yards, filling a blank space on a pavement. If these cannot be used, groups can be made of pot flowers, some being raised in the centre by boxes or bricks. A small palm, or other large plant, set in the centre with fuchsias and geraniums making an oval around it, has a good effect. A corner filled up with large plants at the back also forms a good and convenient arrangement. Cactuses can be grouped in this way. Rex begonias are beautiful arranged in shady places on rising shelves. Rustic stands, hanging baskets, old stumps as stands for boxes, or vases, all can be used. Ivy trained about the latter add much to the beauty. For vases or baskets there are many lovely plants, such as trailing abutilon, Peristrophe variegata, Convolvulus Mauritanicus, Othonna, Mesembryanthemums, Begonia macrophylla, Petunias, Oxalis Bowiei, Floribunda alba, and rosea, Trailing Fuchsias, Senecio scandens, or German ivy for sunny spots. While for half-shaded places there are the lovely Trailing Lobelias, the Tradescantias, Tor-renias, Anthericum folia variegata, Nasturtions, Senecio, green and variegated, etc. For all shade are the delicate climbing ferns, mosses, Tradescantia, and the Cissus discolor with its lovely leaves.
This plant may be kept through the winter in a moderately heated room, and does not require a hothouse to winter it. The pretty Kenilworth ivy and the useful Lysima-chia must not be omitted. Both of these, and the Torenia will cover bare spots with beauty, and bear the sun well, if watered freely and constantly.
Where gateways of iron are used, or those with heavy posts of wood, they may be made to add dignity to the premises by being adorned with vases, or arched with vines, or trailing shrubbery. They should present an inviting aspect to the visitor. Who, that looks through a garden gate into a lovely picture of flowers and vines, does not feel an added regard for the owner of such grounds.
The quality of the earth is very important in floriculture. It should not contain any of the rubbish so frequent in city yards, nor any matter to cause fermentation. Where the beds have been filled with building refuse it is best to have it all removed. One-third of street dirt, or anthracite coal ashes, could be used in refilling without detriment to the plants. I have seen beautiful Roses, Forget-me-nots, Pinks, Pan-sies, etc, grown in beds, the foundations of which were pure coal ashes (anthracite). Field earth is next best after rotted sod, or good garden mold. In our climate of hot summers it is better to sink rather than raise beds above the general surface, as they retain moisture longer.
As Americans, we have no need to blush at the progress made in the tasteful adornment of our houses and grounds. We may see more systematic work and finer specimen plants in parts of Europe, but Americans will always miss the luxuriance of growth produced by our almost tropical summers. We have heard of flower-loving Germans standing in pleased amaze at the beauty of the Weigelia as grown in this country, not to mention the wealth of bloom in other plants. We are, too, more select as to flowers for bouquets, and we have reason to be, for we have greater choice.
The taste for floriculture has grown rapidly and almost keeps pace with the cultivation of fruit, and I hope to see the time when every yard will have its bed of flowers, as well as fruit trees unmolested by the hatchet or pilfering fingers of the modern traducers of the juvenile George Washington.
We are reminded of a venerable child-loving grandmother who wished that all our public roads might be lined with fruit trees, and I add with flowers, that all might partake and enjoy what has been provided as food and pleasure for the inhabitants of this, our earthly home.