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.
This is a family of which there are a number that are herbaceous perennials, and a still larger number that are shrubs. Among the best of the Herbaceous are Filipendula plena, dwarfish, and with double white flowers from June to October;Pal-meta, with strong stems four or more feet high and large clusters of red flowers in July. Rich, deep, and strong, rather moist, soils produce the finest flowers and greatest quantity.
Veronica, or Speedwell, is a class of plants apparently suited to any soil, furnishing white and blue flowers in profusion in June and July. Virginicum, Siberica, and Speciosa are three of the best varieties.
The Yucca, or Adam's Needle, is a class of evergreen plants that although mostly natives of warm climates, nevertheless prove perfectly hardy all over our Northern States. Occasionally a winter blackens a portion of the leaves, but as a general thing they remain green and fresh. They are free to flower, and the height of their stems and abundance of flowers are greatly regulated by the depth and richness of the soil in which they are grown, a moderate or rather poor soil giving only stems of about two feet high, while deep, rich, strong soils give to the same plant a height of stem varying from five to seven feet and proportionate additional abundance of flowers. The flowers are white and bell-shaped. For points in rock-work planting they are well adapted, and also in forming groups of evergreen shrubs. We have seen masses of them in position on a lawn prove very effective.
As we have before said, all these that we have named, and many more varieties, can be obtained of nearly every florist or nurseryman at comparatively low prices; and those who are often unfortunate in growing annuals, or have but little time to devote to the flower-garden, we advise to give attention to perennials, believing that in their culture satisfaction and enjoyment are to be found.
Of all the hardy shrubs the class of Spireas is one of the most beautiful, and each year growers are producing new and improved varieties. Some of the best among the new and good ones are Spirea amurensis, with large panicles of white flowers; Spirea Californica, a drawf-growing sort, but a free bloomer; Spirea callosa and Callosa alba - the former having umbels of red flowers, and the latter a drawf-growing sort, with umbels of greenish-white flowers, produced in great profusion and long continuance. Spirea eximea, Reevesii flore pleno, prunifolia flore pleno, Douglasuii, etc., are well known; but Ariefolia, although a native, is not so well known as its delicate and graceful habit and small heads of white flowers merit. - Rural New Yorker.