This section is from the book "The Florist And Garden Miscellany". Also see: All New Square Foot Gardening: Grow More in Less Space!.
"The sapless branch Must fly before the knife; the wither'd leaf Must be detach'd, and, where it strews the floor, Swept with a woman's neatness; breeding else Contagion, and disseminating death".
The flight of birds to warmer climates, the rustling of falling leaves becoming more loud and constant every day, and the lengthening shadows and contracted hours of daylight, remind the gardener that there is no time to be lost. In this department of labour, as well as in all others, physical, mental, and moral, we must "work while it is day; for the night cometh, when no man can work." Besides the usual routine of operations which the advancing season brings with it, October seldom passes away without a frost, whose effects demand great exertions to remove or counteract them. I was about to use the epithet mournful, or lamentable, in connexion with those effects; but a moment's reasoning displayed the folly of such a senti-mentalism. It is by the interchange of seasons that we are kept from tiring in our waiting upon Nature; and although it gives a moment's pain to see in one night the beauty of our Dahlias, Verbenas, and Geraniums perish, we soon entertain better thoughts, and clearing away the wrecks which the iron king leaves behind him, we fill the beds and borders with Hyacinths, Tulips, and Crocuses, the sources of new hopes and pleasures. Most gardeners have felt that a mild autumn may continue too long to be welcome.
We wish the summer garniture fairly gone, that we may prepare for spring; and should a bed of flowers persist in tarrying on to the very boundaries of winter, we are obliged unceremoniously to pull them up and destroy them, to make way for their expectant and budding successors. It is in this way human friendships may outlive their interest and attraction; and it is better, therefore, that they should be dissevered in time to prevent so humiliating a result.
When the beds are quite free and ready for the spring bulbs, they must be dug over, and have a good portion of leaf-mould and coarse sand mixed with their soil. About four inches deep is sufficient for the bulbs; and when they are put in their places, a little sand sprinkled over them half an inch thick will be of service. For circular beds, we have found the following arrangement produce a good effect. Round the outside, about three inches from the edge, a circle of Crocuses; next, early Tulips; and over the whole remaining portion, Hyacinths and Narcissus. A bed of this kind will be attractive from January till May. The Crocuses will appear at the earliest-mentioned period, if the weather is mild; and when they are off bloom, their long leaves make an elegant border to the bed until the latter bulbs have done blooming. If my readers will carry out this plan on either a large or small scale, I am sure they will thank me for the idea.
The Bury, Luton. Henry Burgess.