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.
Your "Wild Flower" correspondent in the May number of your magazine, speaks of the facility with which the Blood root (Sanguinaria Canandensis) may be grown in a garden.
Three or four years ago we brought in a good number of roots from a beech wood in our neighborhood. They were planted in two wide shallow wooden boxes, the bottoms of which were perforated for drainage and sunk in a border. Every Spring since, we have a most luxuriant bloom of these pretty flowers, and at a time when flowers are rare and valued. They always excite the admiration of our visitors, many of whom have perhaps never before seen a blood-root.
A bed of wild pink Phlox has succeeded admirably, being a mass of bloom long before the Phlox Drummondii puts in an appearance.
The Cactus known to us as Prickly Pear, and which we find on any sandy barren, forms a handsome clump in my garden. Its bright yellow cups are like finest silk, succeeded in the autumn by its red fruit which lasts with us through the winter.
I do not know whether it is commonly known that the prickly succulent leaf is an unfailing cure for a felon or whitlow. The leaf is carefully scraped, and the spongy, juicy part beaten up with a silver fork till it becomes light and soft. This is used as a poultice, and I have never seen it fail to relieve the sufferer.
The Scarlet Woodbine of our woods makes a glorious show on some tall cedar posts up which they run; forming at the top umbrella shaped heads from which again hang long festoons of blossom.
Our Bignonias (cross vine) improve by cultivation. Running along the eaves of our cottage the great leaves and large scarlet blossoms are very elegant. A straw-colored one has bloomed for the first time since brought into the garden. There is a wild Smilax here which growing up a building, is far more graceful in its habit than the one you value in your greenhouses. At first the growth is depressingly slow, and we almost despaired of our vine ; but now our Smilax has repaid us for our patience, and it branches and grows more rapidly than the Ivy. Its shining, dark-green leaves, summer and winter, are more cheerful than I can describe.
The Styrax have quite recovered their removal from the damp vicinity of their native swamps. My trees have bloomed profusely, and their pleasant fragrance and pretty star-like flowers ought to make them better known among American botanists.
Some two or three years ago I chanced on a wild pepper (Solanum), growing just outside our garden fence. I dug it up and planted it in a similar spot under the shade of our magnificent Live Oaks. Now, I have more than I need, for they seed and come up every spring. The flower is small, but the berries are bright and showy, even after frost has wilted the Chrysanthemums.
I must mention, before I close this paper, a small tree I have succeeded in domesticating. It is one of the numerous varieties of Whortleberry (Huckleberry, as we call them,) or Spar-kleberry, perhaps a Vaccinium. The tree, or shrub is from ten to thirty feet high. Bears its myriads of snowy flowers exactly resembling in shape and size the Lily of the Valley - without a single leaf. You are startled by a white mass in the woods, and on approaching it, are enchanted with the exquisite, delicate, dangling beauty of the plant. When the flowers commence to fall, the round, tiny, shining leaves appear; and when the first frost comes, the tree is crimson, its brilliant foliage lasting a considerable time. My little tree is now covered with berries which are not edible.