This section is from "The Horticulturist, And Journal Of Rural Art And Rural Taste", by P. Barry, A. J. Downing, J. Jay Smith, Peter B. Mead, F. W. Woodward, Henry T. Williams. Also available from Amazon: Horticulturist and Journal of Rural Art and Rural Taste.
The Rustic Basket is the best design for a flower-garden; and.if people wonld bat countenance such artistic designs, instead of the present race of hideous mongrels which offend the eye at almost every turn, it wonld be really worth while, to write aboot how to fill them with the most appropriate flowers.
"W. W.'s" rustic basket should not have more than twelve inches depth of mould in it. On no account leave the pedestal full of mould, at least, not more than this season. All baskets and vases should have more holding soil than flower-beds for the same plants; a stronger kind of loam: in a country place, sheep's droppings, gathered a month before, make the best manure, and give the best mechanical texture to the loam. Three inches at the top should be mixed with leaf mould and some sand, so as to make a light, rich, mellow soil of it. They plant and manage the vases very well indeed at the Crystal Palace. , But you may make your rustic basket more gay and telling than any of their vases, if, after attending to the compost just indicated, you keep the planting strictly to three kinds of plants; two of them to be of most distinct colors - scarlet and yellow; and the third, a half-distinct color - a pale blue; and plant them on this wise: Take, first, a pale blue running Lobelia of the Erinus breed; they are in air the nurseries, but avoid Ramosoides; it is too upright, and too dark a blue next the wood-work. Nothing suits so well here as a pale blue.
The plants are in sixty pots; turn one out, and flatten the ball gently between your hands till it is nearly as flat as a pan-cake, but do not hurt a root. Open the side at the very edge of your basket, and lay down the flattened ball with the root end of the plant as near the rim as possible; the herb part of the plant will then point out horizontally over the edge of the basket, and so on all round, making nearly a continuous hedge all round. Smooth the surface of the basket now, and plant a row of young Tom Thumbs, with the heads slanting. After the Lobelias, then another row of old Tom Thumbs, quite upright, and fill the middle with yellow-bedding Calceolarias, quite full; and the plants most be old ones, and higher than the last row of Geraniums. Water well through a rose, and the thing is done for this season. - D. Beaton.