This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
Between the Dahlia show and that of the Auricula there occurs a weary waste in the life of the florist, the intervening moiety of the year being devoid of those cheering hopes and spirit-stirring anxieties which, almost uninterruptedly, attend his pursuit in the other annual half circle.
No real necessity, however, exists for this large blank in his existence, whilst the Crocus springs up every March to claim its share of his affection. There is no law which forbids him to take another favourite under his protection; and I know of no fresh candidate for his favour which would better reward the care of the florist than the Crocus. She will sport if he chooses, assume that fulness of form which he so much prizes in the Tulip, the Pansy, and the Geranium; and she requires no petting. She is very fertile, both breeding and seeding freely, except when she assumes a yellow hue, and then she breeds only. The meanest of her progeny need not be cast away, so long as spring can find the ground-line of a hedgerow unadorned with her vernal bloom.
I have about 240 yards of the border of a fence by a highway-side planted with Crocuses; and it has given me great delight to find how much pleasure their gay flowers contribute to passers-by. "Ah! a garden, a garden!" exclaimed one, and that one a man too, with a tone and manner which partook of delight and surprise. For road-side decoration the Snowdrop is also a suitable flower. I have that bulb close to the stems of some of my fences, and the Crocus in a row in front of it; and thus I have a bright line below my hedges in February, and another in March and April.
If prizes were offered for the best collection of Crocuses, they would be the means probably of making many varieties known which have not been dreamt of by some growers; and the same may be said of Columbines, which are well worth the attention of the florist. There may be many choice collections of Crocuses in the country; and I should like to see specimens of them publicly exhibited. The only superior one which I know of is near Manchester, in the possession of a most enthusiastic grower and admirer of what are called botanical plants.
Forton Cottage. R. T.