This section is from the book "The Gardener V2", 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.
By William Sutherland, Gardener to the Earl of Minto; formerly Manager of the Herbaceous Department at Kew. "William Blackwood & Sons, Edinburgh and London. If any proof were required that Mr Sutherland has made the very best possible use of his excellent opportunities for acquiring an intimate and minute knowledge of the family of plants of which he treats in this volume, we have only to consult its pages in order to see clearly that he is a perfect master of his subject. The work throughout is simple, both in its design and execution, and of course on that account it is all the more likely to be useful and instructive. In sixty-five pages of introductory remarks he makes out a just and powerful plea for a more extensive use of herbaceous and alpine flowers, and points out the advantages to be derived from so doing. He treats comprehensively and clearly of their general culture, their propagation, and the positions for which they are most suitable. The rest of the volume, extending to more than 300 pages, he has devoted to a description of over a thousand of the best species, which he arranges, very properly we think, in their natural orders.
His descriptions are thoroughly popular, and well calculated, as the author thus puts it, "to impress on the mind of the reader the general character and value of the plants from an ornamental point of view." And while he has thus aimed at practical usefulness in his descriptions to those who wish for showy and interesting selections, these descriptions are at the same time so comprehensive that they are eminently calculated to assist in identifying species. Peculiarities in culture required by particular genera and species are pointed out while treating of each that could not well have been embodied in his introductory and more general remarks. We regard the work as calculated to be of great use to those who wish to learn all that is possible, in a popular and decorative point of view, of hardy herbaceous and alpine flowers; and to young gardeners and amateurs who wish for the most substantial and reliable assistance in this very interesting branch of gardening, there exists no better book that we know of.
It cannot fail to become a standard work on the culture of the plants of which it treats, and it deserves a wide circulation.