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.
In a serpentine bed, the groundwork formed of winding circles of Ivy, was seen zonal Pelargonium Lucius, one of Bull's fine varieties, and having fine showy crimson flowers and large erect and bold trusses; this was edged with Pelargonium Golden Fleece and a margin of Euonymus radicans variegata. At the back of this bed, in place of Lucius, was Nosegay Lady Constance Grosvenor; but Mr Gibson intends to abandon the growth of it, on the ground that it blooms too late. Next came a circular bed arranged with much novelty of design. In the centre of the bed was a disc of Ageratum Prince Arthur; from the centre of the bed to the circumference ran out four ray-like bands, each of which was planted with one of the following variegated Zonal Pelargoniums; viz., Sophia Dumaresque, good; Star of India, very like it in character; Sunray, a variety that does not do well out of doors; and Louisa Smith, also in bad condition. Between each of these bands was an angular-shaped space, and these were filled with the following gold and bronze Pelargoniums, one variety in each; viz., Mrs C. Barry, Bronze Belt, Kentish Hero, and Beauty of Calderdale; of these, the two last named were decidedly the best.
The ' Gardeners' Chronicle' shall supply the remainder of our notes: -
"Foremost in novelty and attractiveness are certain low beds carpeted with distinctly-coloured foliage. In one most strikingly beautiful bed, 30 feet long by 6 feet wide, we have three rectangular masses of the golden-leaved Pyrethrum, which are bordered and connected by a broadish band of the rosy-tinted Alternanthera amoena, the outer mass being made up of the orange-tinted Alternanthera paronychioides major. The effect is excellent, and equally pleasing whether seen from a distance or examined closely. Another contiguous bed is filled with the same kinds of plants, but differently arranged. Here there are two diamond-shaped masses of Alternanthera paronychioides major, bordered and connected by a broad band of Alternanthera amoena, which in addition is made to form a cross band at the centre and a Trefoil figure at each end, the whole outer mass being the golden-leaved Pyrethrum, edged with a line of Echeveria secunda. In another part of the grounds occur a pair of elongated carpeted beds, consisting of a series of circles of the silvery Antennaria tomentosa, Alternanthera amoena and Teleian-thera versicolor being disposed in a scroll-like band around them, while the outer part is filled with Alternanthera paronychioides, with a most effective border formed of a single line of Echeveria secunda, which latter, with Sempervivum Californicum, and one or two other succulents of similar character, appear frequently in similar positions.
These carpet beds are all gems in their way.
"Another remarkably effective spot, and one to which Mr Gibson has this year made considerable additions, is what he designates most appositely as Alpine Point. The ground is thrown up in imitation of mountain scenery, and two 'snowy' peaks covered with the white-leaved Antennaria are seen peeping up above the surrounding scenery from many distant points. The lower surface is clothed with hardy succulents and herbaceous plants of dwarf habit, the intention being to get the ground covered with a carpeting of close-growing perennials - such, for example, as the dwarf Sedums - and then to throw out here and there individuals or masses presenting characteristic features.
"In another style of grouping was a cone-shaped bed planted on the crown with about a quarter of a hundred fine plants of Echeveria metallica. The miniature mount was broken up into half-a-dozen spurs, on each of which was placed a plant of the green-leaved Sempervivum Donkelaari, and at the point a group of five plants of the white-leaved Pachyphyton bracteosum. In each of the hollows between these prominences was placed a small plant of the variegated-leaved Pine-Apple. The whole surface was clothed with Sedum glaucum. This bed was a very telling one.
"A quiet sheltered nook, which for the past year or two has been given up to the Ferns, has been considerably amplified and improved. Here are to be seen a few specimens, with considerable trunks, of Dicksonia, Cyathea, etc, with an undergrowth of Thamnopteris Australasica, the palm-habited Dracaena nutans, on tall stems, being very effectively introduced. It is a most charming, retired, and quiet spot; and near at hand Mr Gibson has opened up a vista in the belt of shrubbery which, with its furniture of Anthuriums, Aralias, and other handsome-leaved plants, forms a feature of much interest, and capable of further development".
Mr Gibson is a true artist, and his genius is as inventive as it is strikingly apparent. The general effects could not fail to call forth the warmest commendations. The great charm of these effects consists in this, "that they are not Buffered to appear in the same stereotyped form each recurring year, but being modified by a delicate touch here or a bold stroke there - both the work of a master hand, and thus are ever presenting signs of progressive refinement".