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.
In the north of China there are a number of plants which have their flower-buds very prominently developed in autumn, so much so that they are ready to burst into bloom before the winter has quite passed by, or, at all events, on the first dawn of spring. Among these Jasminum nudiflorum occupies a prominent position. Its yellow blossoms, which it produces in great abundance, may be seen not unfrequently peeping out from among the snow, and reminds the stranger in these remote regions of the beautiful Primroses and Cowslips which grow on the shaded banks of his own land. Nearly as early as this, the pretty daisy-like Spircca prunifolia, the yellow Forsythia viridistima, the lilac Daphne Fortunei, and the pink Judas tree, become covered with blossoms, and make our northern Chinese gardens extremely gay. There are also some good Camellias which flower at this time, but they are generally grown in pots under such shelter as mat sheds and other buildings of a like kind can afford. The double-blossomed Teach, of which there are three very distinct varieties now in England, are perhaps the gayest of all things which flower in early spring.
Fancy, if you can, trees fully as large as our Almond, literally loaded with rich colored blossoms, nearly as large and double as Roses, and you will have some idea of the effect produced by these fine trees in this part of the world. On the southwest side of Shanghae there are numerous Peach gardens studded over the country. These are well worth a visit in the month of April, as the trees are* then in full bloom, and have a charming effect upon the landscape. It is in this part of the country where the celebrated Shanghae Peach is largely cultivated. On the graves, which are here scattered over all the fields, and appear like huge mounds of earth, I observed many pretty Violets in flower, both white and purple, but all nearly scentless. A little later in the season, that is from the 20th of April to the beginning of May, another race of flowering shrubs and herbaceous plants succeed those I have already named. The most conspicuous among them are Viburnum macrocephalum and dilatatum, with their large heads of snow-white flowers; Spircea Reevesiana, and the double variety, which is more beautiful than the original species; Weigela rosea, now well known in Europe; Moutans of various hues of color; Azaleas, particularly the lovely little "Amcena;" Kcrria Japonica, the lilae and white Glycines, Roses, Dielytra spectabilis, and Primula eortusoides.
It will easily be believed that with such a host of Flora's beauties these Chinese gardens must be gay indeed. But perhaps the most beautiful sight of all is the Glycine sinensis, climbing upon and hanging down from other trees. I believe I noticed in my former "Notes" the fine effects produced by this climber when in such situations. I have again observed numerous examples this spring, and can not help drawing attention once more to the subject The fine plant of this species upon the Chiswick garden wall is much and justly admired, but if you will imagine a plant equally large, or in some instances much larger, attaching itself to a tree, or even a group of trees, entwining itself round the stems, running up every branch, and weighing down every branchlet; and, in the end of April or beginning of May, covered with flowers; some faint idea may be formed of the fine effects produced by the Glycine in its native country. I believe it would not succeed if managed in this way near London, or anywhere in the north; but the experiment would be worth a trial in some parts of Europe, where the summers are warmer than they are in England. As I know you have many readers in the United States of America who are as fond of their parks and gardens as we are of ours, and I.