The Syringa is a most delicious shrub; the foliage is luxuriant, the blossom beautiful and abundant, white as the purest Lily, and of the most fragrant scent. In a room, indeed, this perfume is too powerful, but in the air it is remarkably agreeable. There is a variety which has no scent, and also a dwarf variety, which does not usually exceed three feet in height. The flowers sweet, and some double.
"The sweet Syringa, yielding but in scent To the rich Orange, or the Woodbine wild, That loves to hang on barren boughs, remote. Her wreaths of flowery perfume."
This is the handsomest of the genus, and is properly only a variety of P. inodorus. It is perfectly hardy, growing in any soil or situation, forming a spreading shrub about six feet high; flowering in June and July.
This shrub grows from four to five feet high. Like the last, it is a native of North America, and was first discovered by Mr. Nuttall. It thrives in the shrubbery in any common garden soil, and is propagated like the others.
P. coronarius,greatly resembles the others; grows about five feet high, and is delightfully fragrant when in bloom. Flowers in June and July.
[The ancient classical name of the plum.]
The cherry was formerly placed in the separate genus of Cerasus, but it is now united by botanists with the Plum in Prunus, the chief distinction between the two being in the form of the stone.
This is a delightful, hardy, deciduous shrub, growing about six or eight feet high. It is very easy of cultivation, and in May and June, when in full flower, is a perfect picture, the white flowers nearly hiding the young leaves, which are beginning at that time to cover the branches. It may either be propagated by layers, or by budding and grafting on the common plum stock.
The Common Cherry, in its double variety called the Double-flowering Cherry, Cerasus communis plena, is a very desirable addition to the shrubbery, on account of its immense number of large, double, pure white flowers, which cover the tree in the early part of May. The flowers are like small white roses, very full and beautiful. By proper training, it can be kept in a low, shrubby state, if desirable. It will grow in any garden soil, and is propagated by budding or grafting.
The "Weeping Cherry is formed by budding a delicate drooping species of Bird Cherry upon the Mazzard stock, at any height that may suit the fancy. By inserting a number of buds, at the desired height, a large drooping head may be formed, which continues to increase in diameter, but not much in height. Its pendent branches, covered with delicate foliage, are at all times a pleasant sight, but more particularly when covered with its profusion of bloom.
[The ancient Greek name.]
The great value of the Buckthorn, with us, is for hedges. It is perfectly hardy, grows rapidly, and bears pruning better than any other shrub with which we are acquainted. Another important item in its value is, that it is never attacked by insects of any description. It is, also, very tough, and flourishes in any soil. No animal, except sheep or goats, will feed upon it. "We consider it, therefore, the only plant for general use for the formation of hedges. "It puts forth its leaves early in the spring, and retains them late in the fall, and its bunches of rich berries are very showy in autumn."
The plants are easily raised from seed, which may be planted either in the fall or very early in the spring. When planted in autumn, it may be done as soon as the berries mature.
The berries should be first mashed and washed, so that they may be planted more evenly. The seed may be sown in drills eighteen inches apart, or in beds. The fall-sown seed will vegetate very early in the spring, while those sown in the spring will not appear under four or five weeks from the time of planting. The second year, the plants may be transferred to the nursery, and should be headed down as soon as they begin to grow. This causes them to thicken at the bottom; a very important point to be remembered, for unless they are first grown with branches from the bottom, no after-cultivation can remedy the neglect.
The best hedges we have seen were those where the plants were placed in a single line, six inches distant from each other.