This section is from the book "The Gardener V1", by William Thomson. Also available from Amazon: The New Organic Grower: A Master's Manual of Tools and Techniques for the Home and Market Gardener.
This is one of the best of a very interesting and useful genus of hardy herbaceous plants. The swallow-worts are not often seen in flower-borders, yet they are well entitled to a place in them. They are not conspicuously showy plants, but far removed from being weedy; and the interesting structure of the flowers is a study in itself, and calculated to attract the thoughtful. All the hardy sorts are easily cultivated in ordinary garden-soil, but nearly all prefer a dry to a wet bottom. The sort immediately before us is particular in this respect, as it is very susceptible of injury from wet in winter. It grows about 18 inches high, with hairy, dusky-brown or reddish-brown stems. The leaves are alternate in the lower part of the stem, and opposite in pairs or in fours in the upper part. The flowers are bright orange-red, in terminal and axillary umbellate clusters at the extremities of the stems; they appear in July and continue till September. It is increased by division in spring, or in very early autumn, so as to give the divisions a chance of establishing themselves before winter sets in.
It is most quickly increased by seed, which ripen in warm localities freely enough, and which should be sown as soon as ripe in sandy loam, in a cold frame, and they will germinate the following spring. Native of North America.